Sunday, December 28, 2008

Different than last year...

Another New Year's Meme. I enjoy keeping track, tallying up the scores, making lists, reminiscing. I am not as talented with it as Molly, however, who provides a list every month. So, I turn to memes instead, easy ways of summarizing and looking forward. This one is different (though not a lot) from last year's, so hopefully I won't repeat myself.

1. Will you be looking for a new job? I am committed to my current job for a while, I believe, but I am never willing to dismiss the idea that we might up and move if necessary.

2. Will you be looking for a new relationship? I'm always seeking new friendships, of course, but I am eternally happy in the romantic relationship I enjoy daily.

3. New house? I look constantly for fun, but I think we'll be here for another few years before we move.

4. What will you do differently in 09? Hmmmm...I will make small changes I'm sure; things like cooking, time management, and sleeping (I don't get enough) are easily tweaked until satisfactory.

5. New Years resolution? This year I resolve to both keep off the weight I shed in 08 and to lose even more. We were joking at WW about how many people will be joining us the first week of the new year, and indeed, weight loss is a very trite resolution, but it is nonetheless important to me.

6. What will you not be doing in 09? Hard to say. I'm open to most things.

7. Any trips planned? None, actually, which is remarkable considering the traveling I've done this past year (Arkansas, Dallas, New York, South Dakota, BWCA, and most recently, Jamaica). We will maybe venture to visit more people: Anne and Josh in OH? Les and Jonathon in AR? Angie in CA? Jen in TX? Val and Mike in MI? Dave and Abby in IL? People keep moving away, so our vacations could easily focus on them. 2010 already hold an international vacation, so we'll have that to look forward to all year as well.

8. Wedding plans? Not my own, of course, but this year Radley and Kelly, David and Nicole, and a cousin of mine are all getting married (so far, that I know of).

9. Major thing on your calendar? May 3rd and June 11th: due dates of my friends Kristin and Jessica, respectively. I am very excited for these wonderful women who will make even more wonderful mothers.

10. What can’t you wait for? See question 9

11. What would you like to see happen differently? Hopefully, our entire nation will experience a shift like we've never felt before. With Obama's election, hope really has been brought back to this country. I can't wait to see everything happen differently under our new leader. I realized after Nov. 4th, I've spent my entire adult life under GWB's leadership. I remember vaguely Clinton's presidency during my middle and high school years, but I was mostly unaware of how it affected me. Now, with a wonderful new man to take the reins, I wait with bated breath for the change that is sure to come.

12. What about yourself will you be changing? My waistline, I hope :-). I am also focusing on being a more patient person. I believe I'm doing well, but I'm sure I have a long way to go.

13. What happened in 08 that you didn’t think would ever happen? Sadly, I had little faith that our nation would elect a black president. I've never been happier to be wrong. Never been prouder to call myself an American. God bless Obama.

14. Will you be nicer to the people you care about? I always try to be as nice as possible. I will strive to be nicer to my students. Less sarcasm and all that.

15. Will you dress differently this year than you did in 08? Smaller sizes, I hope :-).

16. Will you start or quit drinking? No, I am quite content with my drinking level.

17. Will you better your relationship with your family? It's good and difficult at the same time and I doubt it will change much in 2009.

18. Will you do charity work? Yes. I definitely need to volunteer more than I do. I am becoming one of those people who writes checks instead of gives time. One should always do both.

19. Will you go to bars? I rarely do, actually, and I don't think that will change much. With a husband who doesn't drink, it's easy to avoid bars.

20. Will you be nice to people you don’t know? I think I'm already nice to people I don't know, but I will go out of my way to help others.

21. Do you expect 09 to be a good year for you? I expect every year to be a good year for me. Set your expectations high and enjoy living up to them.

22. How much did you change from this time last year till now? That is a very hard question to answer. I believe all my changes are for the better, though. I am a better teacher, a better wife, a better friend; I am more fit, more educated, more available.

23. Do you plan on having a child? Yes, but probably not in 09 :-).

24. Will you still be friends with the same people you are friends with now? Yes, of course, but it continues to get harder as people keep moving away!!!

25. Major lifestyle changes? Nothing major I can think of. We will try, however, like the rest of the nation, to be more thrifty as we approach another year of financial crisis.

26. Will you move? Probably not, but you never know.

27. What will you make sure doesn’t happen in 09 that happened in 08? I don't believe I have the power to make sure things don't happen, but I will do my best to prevent all bad things from happening.

28. What are your New Years Eve plans? Another NYE date with Heather and Travas. Last year we stayed in; this year, I think we'll go out and paint the town. Or at least go out to dinner and to a club of some sort. Anyone available to join us?

30. One wish for 09? Peace on Earth and goodwill to all people? Too much? I wish for daily pleasures like stretching, cuddling with the dogs, cooking with my husband, fresh fruit in bright colors, a good book and a quilt, hot chocolate with marshmallows, text messages (or handwritten notes in Molly's case) from friends, smiles, hot baths, board games, and other happy things.

Happy New Year, all! Farewell to 2008. I tag Leslie, Bonnie, Jen, and Heather to also complete this meme, because none of them write on their blogs often enough (less frequently even than me!).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Will we ever learn?

It was snowing during rush hour again today, for about the fourth time this year so far (we are getting SO much snow). But the traffic and the accidents and the idiocy seem to get worse and worse. When will MN drivers learn that the best way to make it through is to be patient, drive smart, and remember there is ice and snow under-tire? It took me 30 minutes to get from work to the clinic (urgent care...sick...needed drugs...about 10 miles), 25 minutes to get from clinic to doggy daycare (about 5 miles), and one whole hour to get from the daycare home (about 18 miles). Two hours of driving. SLOWLY. And half of it with dogs. Car after car in the ditch, many reports of accidents, and every road in every direction completely backed up. No, you can't slam on the brakes in ice and snow and expect to stop instead of slide and veer. Yes, you do need to keep your eyes on the car in front of you. No, you shouldn't talk on your cell and change the radio stations. No, you shouldn't expect to be home at the same hour. Yes, you should go the f#@* home and stay there, you crazy weather drivers!!!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


It doesn't seem like that long of a time when you count it out in days. 1,461 days of feeling like a new person. Of feeling like shouting and a good way. Of being able to smile with ease, sleep in comfort, and dream happy dreams. Four years ago was our first date. Not everyone pinpoints this moment. Probably some people stop celebrating the small anniversaries of first dates, first kisses, first other special times, when they get married and have a "legal" anniversary. But I will never, ever forget these dates and times and experiences. That first date was the moment everything changed. Yes, the marriage changed things, too, but he was already in my life, already sharing a home, already loving me. It is corny, trite, and possibly unbelievable, but it really was our first date when I first thought, "I could spend my life with this man." I am sure he wasn't quite as confident as me (since I'm easily the crazy one), but we clicked from the get-go. You've all heard the story, but let's revisit for reminiscence sake:

Having known each other through friends for years, we never spoke more than a "hey" to each other before the summer of weddings (2004 was a little insane). Being newly single myself, every potentially single, dateable man was on my radar. At Anne and Josh's wedding (July), I considered Patrick, but he was dancing with another girl all night, so that was that. At Heather and Trav's wedding (August) however, we were both in the wedding party, and we were both the only singles. Sweet. Happenstance put us together at the reception for the formal wedding party dance, and then we ended up dancing all night. Some of us went out afterwards, and I invited him to join us. He said no. Again, that was that. In September, a random dinner gathering in the cities brought us together once more. I remember saying to Anne, "I plan on flirting with your friend Pat tonight; I hope you don't mind." But mostly, it was because I was coming off a really bad string of dates, was sorely depressed, and was planning on getting drunk. Indeed, I did get drunk. I remember awkwardly being forced to sit next to Pat at the restaurant (people moved very obviously and it was embarrassing), but I don't remember how the night ended. Up to this point, we'd never really had a real conversation. It wasn't until Thanksgiving at Heather and Trav's party (we would have seen each other in October at a Halloween party, too, completing the once a month thing, but he decided randomly to fly to Texas to visit family) did we actually, really, genuinely talk. A lot. I scarcely remember who else was at that party. And he ate two pieces of the apple pie I baked. I am an old-fashioned woman who likes nothing more than a man enjoying her cooking. My heart was all a-flutter. We were the last to leave. But, no request for a phone number even, let alone a date. Sigh. Heather took things into her own hands and told her husband how much I liked him. Travas told Pat, gave him my number. The next day he called. (It should be noted, I actually remember every detail of that first phone call, too, but I'll spare you.)

Fast forward two weeks later, the first time he could get down to Mankato (the first 6 months of relationship were long distance in nature). Stereotypically, we met for drinks after a hockey game. The bar we were meeting at was packed, so we walked about 5 blocks in the freezing cold to find a place with chairs available. Great way to start a first date. But when we got there, it became the perfect first date. Drinks and talking...for hours. We closed the place down without even realizing it. I thought our waitress was being pushy, coming back so many times, but it turns out she had only stopped over three times in three hours. We just had no concept of time. We talked about so many things. There was never a lull. Sigh. It was perfect. Over the next month, we followed this very movie-like, stereotype of a dating progression. Second date: dinner and a move. Third date: a dinner of convenience (I was in his neck of the woods). Fourth date: movie on the couch, out with friends for drinks and karaoke, sleepover. Fifth date: a friend's party, together, for the first time (we even potlucked it together, stopping at the grocery store on the way). It was New Year's Eve and he kissed me at midnight in front of our friends. Heaven.

The rest, as they say, is history. More or less. We've gone through a lot together in the past four years, but some things we've never done include: break up (not once, not even for a day), fought (like really fight, like say things you can't take back, walk out on each other, etc.), doubt. It is silly to think I was ever in love before Patrick. I just never knew what true, real, unconditional love felt like. It's the best kind. Some people think we moved too fast (moved in together after a year, got engaged after a year and a half, married after two and a half), but those people are crazy. I would've have married Pat after four dates. When you know, you feel it. And it was fabulous. Still is.

Next week, we fly to Jamaica to celebrate. A second honeymoon before your second wedding anniversary sounds extravagant, but we are just enjoying every minute we have together, and we love to travel almost as much as we love each other :-).

Happy first-date, day my life changed, anniversary, honey. I love you.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Oh, yeah!

I have happy news! Happy, happy, happy news! I received this happy news weeks ago (October 23rd, to be exact), and immediately wanted to spread the joy, but was told not to. I asked, "May I blog about this merriment?" but there were people who had not been told in person yet, and you know how the internet community can be. I bet you want to know the news. Actually, I've talked to most of you readers in person since then, so probably you all know, but to announce and rejoice formally:


My dear, wonderful, amazing friend Kristin and her (nearly) equally super husband Dan expect a new family member in May. Ordinarily, you might think, "a woman who's been married for four years in her; that makes sense." But with Kristin it's so much better than just making sense. It's perfect. I can think of few people as well-equipped to be mothers as Krissy (she hates that). I have known her since we were 3, and I've never met anyone as kind, honest, even-tempered, selfless, or forgiving as Kristin. She will be a fabulous mother. Many, many wishes of congratulations for my friend and her family.

I remembered I hadn't blogged this happiness when I was puttering around on the internet after dinner tonight and looked over at our first Christmas card next to me; it's from Kristin and Dan, of course! And it is the most clever little hand-made card. I shall try and explain it, but without images, it may be lost on you (if I were Molly, I would just take a picture of it and post it here for you to enjoy; I am not Molly): on the front, there is a ball of snow and it says "one" and then that ball with another ball on top of it, "two..." and then you open the card and there's the whole three-balled snowman and it reads, "and baby makes three!" Cute, right? See? Good mom and good cardmaker. No wonder I love her :-).

Also, coincidentally, I was shopping with girlfriends today (and baking Christmas cookies...yum!) and I bought the baby's Christmas gift. Yes, you can buy gifts for babies who are still in the womb. Yes, you CAN! It was one of those moments, where you just see something, not even looking, and think, "Oh. So wonderful. If only I had a baby to get it for..." Well, now I do! Okay, I don't have a baby. But one will be only a 30-minute drive away in a mere 5 months.

Love to Kristin and Dan and Baby.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Festive Festivities

And so it begins. A poinsettia on my desk (purchased from a fundraising student, of course). Christmas music on my car radio (alternating with MPR, which has plenty of holiday-related fodder of its own). Pie recipes dancing in my head for baking this evening. Our first holiday extravaganza behind us, I now have many, many, many more to enjoy in the next month and a half.

We spent last Saturday “back home” to celebrate with Pat’s family. If I’ve never mentioned, they miraculously decided years ago never to try and celebrate a holiday on the holiday, thus not competing with spousal families. I love my in-laws. So, we ate, we drank, we were merry. And we played football with the nieces and nephews and it was wonderfully enjoyable. It started as Pat and the four kids against two older nephews and two other uncles. Then another uncle joined in on Pat’s side, then so did I. We still lost. But it was super fun. Pat is most adorable with his nieces and nephews, and will be the best dad ever. Can’t wait.

Tonight, we’re going to my brother-in-law’s in Northeast for a little wine and cheese pre-Thanksgiving party. Then tomorrow to my aunt’s for all the traditional fare. Friday, to my other aunt’s for her annual Texas Hold ‘em Turkey Flop. Saturday, a gathering with friends across town. Four parties in four days? Only during the holidays. Then it really begins…

In the month of December there are already six holiday engagements on my calendar. January will offer the in-laws’ Christmas, as well as Pat’s work’s holiday party. And we’ll have to do something for New Year’s, right? All this, and we’re going to Jamaica for six days!

This is why people get stressed during the holidays: the sheer volume of things to keep track of. Despite all this (because of all this, rather), I am elated the holidays are here. I love them. I love the baking and the decorating and the music and the togetherness. I don’t like the cold, but it is inevitable. In the next two months, I will see all the people I love. Jen from Texas (for a whole week!), Les and Jonathon from Arkansas (they, too, are coming for a week, but they have more people than just me to visit), Angie from California (seeing as she works retail, her visit isn’t until late January, but still), and Anne and Josh from Ohio (like L & J, the visit will be brief, but nonetheless special). Time together is the best gift indeed.

Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays. Love to you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pleasantly Surprised

Speech team try-outs are this week. We had 40 people sign up. This is unprecedented for us, and I'm totally thrilled. I have two amazing new coaches (I know we haven't even started yet, but I can just tell how awesome they are). And my captains are the best captains I've ever had.

I know I said I wanted desperately to quit this overly demanding position. And I did. But I am realizing how important it is to me. Mostly, it's the kids. Three things happened to show me how much they love me (yes, I'm bragging, but there's more...)
1. A sophomore favorite (yes, of course I have favorites) was telling me about how he was recruiting for the team, "Mrs. [My last name] is the coach. That's all you need to know." Jeff, I said, you need tell them more than that. "Uh-uh. You make it as fun as it is." Being as I'm all he's known, I suppose that makes sense.
2. Suzanne, who's been an assistant here as long as I have been head, had to quit. Students cried. She didn't even work with all of them. And she was only here twice a week. But they loved her, and were sad and mad both when she left. This strong reaction makes me worry how they'll react when I DO quit. Clearly, they aren't ready (and neither am I, but I will be some day, like when I have kids...can't work 12-hour days when you have kids).
3. My awesome and a half captains were talking t-shirt designs, and last year the slogan included my name. So, they say, "This year, we're going to put your picture on the shirt and it will say [My last name]'s Homies" NO! I said. No more ME on t-shirts! The shirts are for SPEECH! "But [My last name], you ARE speech." Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

I feel like Sally Fields in 1979: "You like me! You really like me!" But what I've realized is that no matter when I decide to give this up (only partially, as assistant coaching will still be on the agenda), it will not be easy. Right now, my freshman when I started are my seniors. Four years. One complete cycle. But now I've got new crops of kids I want to see all the way through. It won't happen if I have babies when I want to, so it already makes me sad. The fact that my current sophomore favorites will be seniors when I most likely quit is sad. I'm sad. No longer excited. I complain and complain about this work, but I love, love, love, love it. There's just no denying it :-).

Monday, November 10, 2008

Too much all around

This weekend was not glorious, nor was it all it should have been. It was fun, enjoyable, and certainly productive, but it wasn't what it should have been. Highlights:
1. Leaving work at noon on Friday (a student-free workday) to lunch and see a matinee with my husband
2. Momentous WW meeting Saturday morning (half-way to goal, people!)
3. Impromptu lunch and shopping with Heather on Saturday
4. A jaunt to Red Wing for Molly's annual wine-tasting where so much fun was had, I (like Molly and Chris) was sore the next morning (both from the wine and the infinite amounts of laughter)
5. The Vikings beat the Packers
6. Cleaning and grocery shopping and working out on Sunday made the weekend complete

But it was incomplete as well. I feel full right now. Mentally, physically full. There is too much to handle. It's as if no scrap of emotion can squeeze its way in; too much already exists. It is this feeling that made me snappy and crabby through all the fun of the weekend. On edge, my husband says. He feels it, too, but his pressures come from other directions. We pick at each other like children, annoyed with the smallest things. Perspective allows us to laugh at ourselves, but then not two hours later we pick again. We apologize and we're fine, but it's not nice. And it shouldn't continue. But the one person you feel most comfortable with inevitably becomes your sounding board and your whipping post. It is true for both of us. Something to work on, no doubt.

I have two pressures causing my conflicting self. The first is the impending speech season. With auditions next week and practice beginning after Thanksgiving, my vow to quit is long-gone and I'm not regretting it. I am, however, filled with nervous energy. I both dread and enjoy the next five months. But this is nothing compared to my grief. If you live in my region, you may have seen or read that we lost a student last week. Two sisters, a sophomore and a senior, were in a car accident. The senior's injuries were fatal; the sophomore, a beloved student of mine, will recover. Recover. I don't believe this is possible. She will wake up, be physically well, but how do you recover from losing your big sister? Dealing with this in the classroom, continuing day to day instruction as best as possible is SO hard. The funeral is tomorrow after school. Hard to be normal. Hard to feel joy. Conflict.

So, while this weekend was super, it was incomplete. Always in the back of my mind, pushing toward the front, this grief, this pressure. I am shaky all the time. I will cry many more times. It is just so much.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Day

Nothing is more exciting than this day. Sigh of relief. God bless America.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Okay. I finally did it. After literally years of being told how wonderful this book is (it was published in 2005), I have read Twilight. And honestly, it wasn't as good as everyone's better. (Totally trite, right? :-)) I am amazed at how much I was sucked in to this story line. I am eager to get started on the second book, but I've been told it's the worst of the four. I shall muster through in order to get to books three and four, which apparently live up to the standards of the first book.

Here's the thing: although, the suspense and intrigue kept my attention well, as did Meyer's easy prose (easy, because it's a young adult book, but also because you are swept up into every situation), I was most absorbed by her perfect portrayal of not just first love or teen love, but of real, sacrificing love. Forget the vampires, people, this is a love story above all else, and a really, really good one. Very Romeo and Juliet-esque with its "no, we simply can't be together" thesis (I'm not revealing anything that's not on the book jacket, by the way, as I know you'll all go out tomorrow and pick up a copy at Target for $8.79 as I did), and that is unoriginal, I admit. But the ferocity with which Meyer writes is flawless. As I read, I could 100% feel the energies of falling and then being in true love. The anxiety she feels, I felt. I had literal tension and butterflies in my stomach. I blushed along with Bella when Edward entered a room. It was intense, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

Further, the renewal of those initial passions, the first meeting, the first real conversation, the first kiss, the long hours of chatter learning about each other, reminded me so completely of the experience of falling in love with my husband, that it was reassuring that this is normal. This marriage, this love. This feeling of complete abandon toward another person. It's not uncommon; it's the norm for people who truly would sacrifice anything for their love. And that's a good thing. Not because I want to be "normal" or I thought my feelings were "weird" but because it feels so damn good, I wish every day that every other person I know is as happy in their relationship as I am in mine.

This has drifted from book review to love letter, but I really enjoyed the book that much. I'm not a literary snob by any means, though. I judge a book based on its ability to make me feel something. Whatever the emotion they want me to feel, the stronger it is within me, the more I like the book. Twilight made me feel great :-).

By this weekend, a follow-up on book two, no doubt. (I bought Twilight just yesterday...)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Utterly Random Thoughts

One: Sometimes, I am a terrible teacher. I expect my students to know things, when, in fact, they may have little to no reason to have the prior knowledge. I get annoyed when they can’t follow the simplest of instructions. Can’t follow the blatant examples I display for them. I take for granted my own ability to follow directions and catch on quickly. Why can’t they be more like me?

We’re researching and working on works cited pages. I spent half a class period last week (30 minutes) going over the format, showing them examples, explaining why we need them (which should all be review for them, as they covered this in middle school). Today, putting it into action, I have had to sit with no fewer than half my students and walk them through it step by tedious step. They have directions. They have examples. Why are they so incapable of understanding? They range in age from 14-18. I could understand if they were third-graders, but come on!

Two: Despite this, I am having a good day. It’s odd when we have time off (MEA Madness this past four days), and I find I have missed my students and colleagues.

Three: Tonight, it will freeze. Cover those tomato plants; pluck your apples from their branches (me, I have only one small oregano plant to protect; perhaps next year a real garden). Just yesterday it was over 70. Shorts and bare feet while painting the window trim. Fall in Minnesota is gloriously unpredictable.

Four: Update-- I did give Patrick more than a poem for his birthday. Much to his surprise and delight, I broke down and gave him the PS3 he’s been chattering about for months. He is rather selfless, my husband, and definitely wouldn’t buy this luxury item for himself. When I wanted a Wii, he tried for months to get me one and managed to succeed (between Thanksgiving and Christmas, no less!). He works hard and spoils me, so it’s only fair. Also, it was one of those situations where the giving is as satisfying as the getting, as previously I had all but banned the system from the house. He was very shocked to see it and I was delighted to watch him enjoy it.

Five: Only two weeks and one day until the election. I will spare you my current detailed thoughts, but I do believe things are looking better and better every day. God willing and the creek don’t rise…

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, Husband

Yesterday, on a beautiful, wonderful, unexpectedly warm autumn Sunday, my husband "completed another trip around the sun." This is his sentiment toward birthdays as an adult (read: no big deal). Consequently, we had a very low-key day. Because he doesn't put much stock in the birthday tradition, he didn't mind that we traveled to my hometown for brunch with my family (Les, dear sister, found her way to MN on this gorgeous weekend, and yesterday was the only iota of time we could spare her and vice versa. In her words, "Coming one day and leaving the next sucks." Thirteen hours each way is a haul for two days, but, as I said, "It's better than nothing.") And brunch was good.

After that, all Patrick wanted was to go home, put on sweatpants, and watch football. Yes, easy to please, that one. We did make a stop on the drive home at a roadside apple farm, buying half a peck of apples, two pumpkins, and a caramel apple pie, still hot from the oven (and I pride myself on baking tasty pies, but this pie was delightful). But get home we did, and watch football we did (watched my fantasy team suffer their first loss of the season as well...tear). No fanfare, no going out. Just "my woman and football". And the pie. And the dinner I made. But you get the idea. Simple things.

Because I have not yet bought him a gift ("I don't need presents," he says, but I think a birthday's not a birthday without at least a little something; but unlike me, who told him precisely what to get me for MY birthday, he is entirely unhelpful), I am giving him this:

To My Husband on His Birthday, 2008

The rickety brown couch we both wish
we would not have purchased
is not a suitable perch for our love.

The mismatched sweatpants and t-shirt
I wore are not the costume of a woman
trying to impress a man.

The sounds of sports on tv and
dogs barking in the yard are not
music to an average ear.

The almost scorched pork chop and
potatoes mashed with slightly sour milk
do not describe a perfect meal.


You are not suitable.
You are not to be impressed.
You are not average.
You are not perfect.
You are mine.

And you are everything to me.

Happy birthday, dear one. May every day we have together be as perfect as yesterday was.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Today I wore socks

I avoid socks usually until it snows. The exception being socks with sneakers when I work out, but even then, I take them off immediately. But after yesterday's chilling rain (wearing a coat for the first time), I woke up this morning feeling socksy. My toes are warm, my ankles are cuddled, and fall has officially begun for me.

But we still haven't turned on the heat :-).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The suits are here

Okay, so I know the content of my blog has been lacking in substance lately, save my occasional political rants. Give me one more month and I'll move on (hopefully). Political ranting continues:

There are secret service patrolling my work place. Scary looking men in suits and earpieces. Inspectors. Inspecting the next site of the next republican campaign stop. That's right: McCain is coming. Here. Alone, thank God, or I might bust. (I have more issue with Little Miss I Can See Russia From My House than with McHero.) Here are some random thoughts on this occurrence, both good and bad:
1. I'm pissed I can't go. At first I was on the fence about going, but as soon as I found out I couldn't, I want nothing more than to be there. Because they are renting the space, we have no claim over this public building in which we work. In fact, even if you're on their side, you need to volunteer to get tickets. Not that I would heckle or anything, but it would be an experience either way. "I saw McCain speak," I could say one day. And my grandkids would say, "Who's that?" and I would reply, "He's the man that lost the election to President Obama in 2008." "Ohhhhhhh," they would say knowingly. Instead, I'm going to stay in the building as close to 4:00 (school gets out at 2:37, my work day technically ends at 3) as they'll let me. Perhaps I can catch a glimpse, of the hero himself, of the swarms of people, of the media, of something worth telling my grandkids. I am becoming a story collector. Maybe I'll try to get in and have SS stop me, "Excuse me, miss (too young still to be ma'am in my opinion). Do you have a ticket?" I'll stand defiant, "NO! But I'm a tax-paying citizen and employee of this building and I want to be a part of the process. Let me in!" I will try to step past him and we will fight. Perhaps I shall be tasered.

2. I'm excited for my school to get some more publicity. Despite my many concerns with the district and the community at large, I love my students and am lucky to work here. In complete contradiction...

3. I am extremely discontent with this school being used as the backdrop for this campaign. THIS school is everything that's right with education. I'm not tooting my horn here, but this school was not chosen by accident. We are a rapidly growing community with a brand new high school. It's gorgeous. We want for nothing here, despite our budgetary concerns. We are not Title I, so NCLB means very little to us. And though we haven't met AYP in the past 3 years, it is a matter of 25 special ed students that keep us below the bar. We have the highest ACT average in the state, and MN has the highest average in the nation. Use the gymnasium at a metro high school, where they want for everything. Show the peeling paint and broken bleachers. Explain why that district closed and boarded up schools this year. Using this beautiful, bountiful school as an example of an American school is, excuse me, a complete crock of shit.

4. My students say the darnedest things:
"Is he the black one?"
"Why is he coming here? Did we win a contest or something?"
"Why can't I go?"
"Secret service agents are hot."

5. Ironic: this week the AP Government class is sponsoring a voter registration table at lunch for students 18+. At this age, the students rallying for their rights, are more likely than not rallying for the other side. But this community is overwhelmingly Republican, so I'm sure that's why it was chosen.

6. Blast. Is it November 4th yet?????

Friday, September 26, 2008

One year ago...

I was completely stressed finishing my degree. Every moment not spent teaching or planning or correcting was spent working on my alt plan thesis or worrying about working on it. I spent my nights with my lap filled with stacks of articles, my weekends at the library writing in silence, my prep hour at school working on my bibliography. I cried rather frequently. It was no small feat. But you know what? I finished it. In time. Rather successfully. People have actually read it. A year later (well, last week, so almost a year), I finally read it. My dearest advisor told me not to read it. To enjoy the pretty cover, lavish the fact that there's a book with my name on it on my shelf, brag from time to time, but never read it. I will find mistakes and obsess over them, he said. But because (like everyone) I wrote it out of order, I'd never read it in sequence. So I did. It wasn't that difficult to read (unlike my scientist husband's, which I claim to have read, but have really only looked at the pretty pictures), and I relearned the things I had buried deep in my brain, hoping never to have to see again. Wow, I thought. Look what I can do! (anybody? anybody?)

But the point is not to brag. Okay, maybe it is a little bit. But my point is this: here is something I HAD to do to finish my degree. Like all the other schoolwork in my 20 years of school (yes, I'm counting kindergarten :-)), I did it as best I could and on time. Because I had to. For me, schoolwork has always been a "have to". It wasn't an option. It always took precedence. So why, now that I'm done with school (at least for never know what the future holds), do I fail to follow through with other goals that should be equally important? Most currently: weight loss. Yes, I'm losing weight. This week was even a good week (in comparison). But after 6 months of trying, I'm no where near my goal. I know slow weight loss is good weight loss, but I still fail to work out every day, fail to eat well at every chance I have. If I had homework every day, I'd do it.

I also neglect my babies, my doggies. They are at doggie daycare right now. Whereas this is a luxury we can treat them to once or twice a week, we do it because we don't achieve our goals with them. We don't walk them every day. They need the exercise a day of playing affords them. Dog park visits should be more frequent. Another goal I fail to meet.

My house is not clean. Unopened mail is strewn across our dining room table. The glass cooktop needs a good scrub. The floor hasn't been mopped in a month. I'm sure many canisters of dog hair would be sucked up by the vacuum. Dusting is the bane of my existence, so more likely than not, I caused my own illness this past week. Unmet goal #3.

I don't want pity or anything. I have a super-wonderful, absolutely fabulous, no complaints kind of life. There are many things I do accomplish. But things like my own health, the health of my family (yes, my dogs are my family), and the cleanliness of my house should all be as high priority as homework once was, yes? Yes. So why the resistance? Where does this complete lack of motivation come from? I was always obsessed with getting good grades, so maybe someone needs to grade my life every week. Any takers?

How about you? What sorts of things do you leave undone? Do you regret it?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Omnivore's Meme

Dearest Angie, upon noticing I haven't posted in nearly 3 weeks (where have I been?, has tagged me for the Omnivore Meme. Being sick and laid up (the school germs have caught up with me), I will now complete it and tag some others.

This Omnivore 100 meme from Omnivore Herbivore Carnivore, in turn via Andrew at Very Good Taste.

How It All Works:
1) Copy the list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out (or italicize) any items that you would never consider eating

The 100

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare

5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp

9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari

12. Pho (been looking at Vietnamese places recently)
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart

16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans

25. Brawn or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl

33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted Cream Tea (nearly every day in England and would swim across the Atlantic to enjoy again)
38. Vodka Jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo

40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat's milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth $120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald's Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle

57. Dirty gin martini (I only drink vodka martinis, but dirty is my favorite way to have them)
58. Beer above 8% ABV (no idea, but I've had mucho beer)
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores

62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini

73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang Souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom Yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. 3 Michelin Star Tasting Menu (looked into it in NYC, but didn't do it)
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers

89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox

97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee

100. Snake

I'm surprised at the number I have tried, but there are many other things I'd like to try. I didn't cross out any, as I am not opposed to trying anything (even the cigar, though I am a strict non-smoker, because my dad smoked cigars and the smell alone is enough to make me long for him).

I tag Leslie (as she hasn't posted in a year), Heather (to keep her blog going), and Jen (because she has spent several months in Thailand and has therefore probably tried many things the rest of us haven't).

I'll try to post more, Angie. Thanks for keeping me in check :-).

Friday, September 5, 2008

Only in 2008

I am truly amazed by the sudden and remarkable onslaught of a viral email that turns out to be REAL.

Only in an election in 2008 would we be privy to the instant (and rather private) information in this email. I opposed Sarah Palin's VP nomination from the moment it was released last Friday (ask my best friend, my husband, or my mother, the three people I ranted to within 15 minutes of the announcement), but having read this declaration (for no matter what this woman claims, I think she wanted people to see this or she wouldn't have been so thorough), I dislike her (and McCain for choosing her) even more.

God help us all if the Dems lose this election. 62 days to go.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


If you haven't read my blog from yesterday, do so first. I'll wait. Go on.

Okay. My mom doesn't read my blog. I think she's heard me mention it, but I don't think she knows what a blog is. Needless to say, she hadn't read my latest post. Last night, however, she sent the email below to some friends and family. Am I my mother's daughter or what?

"I have watched every moment of the Democratic National Convention. Never before have I been so moved. When I was 12 or 13, I watched because my daddy watched when Nixon and Kennedy squared off. I also watched my daddy cry when we lost our Camelot president fall. This election has brought to my mind the incredible history that people of my generation have been so privileged, and so sorry, to have experienced. Brutal killings of our heroes. Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and, yes, John Lennon. The incredible losses of 9/11. Needless deaths of our people who offered us hope.The immense losses of our boys in Viet Nam. This year's presidential election offers a scenario that I truly never believed would happen in my lifetime. A woman with a chance to be president of the greatest nation in the world! An African-American man poised to be voted the leader of a country which once, not so long ago, didn't find him worthy to eat in their diner or drink from their fountain.

I have actually heard, out of the mouths of people I thought I knew, that their problem with Barrack Obama is his name! Are you kidding me? Guess what? His middle name is Hussein. That's not his fault, people. And he is what we need. A man with a history of what it's like to be needy in America.He now has way more than the American dream...I'm pretty sure his girls won't want for much, but I'll bet that they take nothing for granted."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Overflowing, overwhelming, overdoing

I cried four times yesterday. That lurching in my stomach, that tightness in my chest, that sting in my eyes. I'm feeling it now. I can literally cry on cue. Am I heartbroken? Heavens, no; my husband is more wonderful than ever. Am I stressed to be starting the new school year? Of course, but not enough to make me cry. Then, what, Miss My Life is Perfect, is troubling you so?

More than ever before, I am plagued by feelings of unease as we go deeper into this crazy thing we call election year. I know! You were all so worried about me, reading that first paragraph. And whereas some may think, "oh, that. don't be so dramatic", others of you are right here with me, literally praying to God every night for the Democrats to take back what is ours. I have been watching the major speeches of the DNC this week, and the more passion I see, the more I believe it might actually happen. However, this is America. Land of the nothing comes free and the home of the rich, white oligarchs. My cynicism is battling with my hopefulness. My head v. my heart. When someone ticks out on a list all of the terrible things that have happened/are happening under Republican rule (like Hill did last night in her AWESOME speech!), I literally get scared. I said to Pat after the speech last night, "Oh, no. What ever will we do if Obama loses???" He is a mellow and practical fellow and responded, "The same thing we've done for the last eight years: cope."

All the while in my car I'm listening to MPR and they have extensive coverage and feature stories of all things election. I am actually volunteering with a political group. We watch more CNN at home than ever before (unless the Twins are on). I feel like I am TOO informed for my own good. In the past, I have tended to just vote my ticket on one side. But the older I get, the more I understand about this crazy-ass world, the more I want to know. The more I want to be involved. And it's driving me insane. It's nearly all I think about.

I am scared for my own faith in the nation I love. What if people would rather have four more years of this hell than (dare I go here), have a black president? I don't know how I'll "cope".

Watching the footage of the DNC is what makes me renewed in my faith that democrats should rule, always, without doubt. In the crowd, you see all races, all genders, all ages. People raising flags for unions, for gay rights, for everyone and everything. You WILL NOT see that at the RNC. We are the people. The real people. The representation of all groups. There are rich democrats, Catholic democrats. And, I'm not a total closed-minded idiot; I know there are decent Republicans. I know there are diverse Republicans. But if they don't pass any policies to prove it, then I can't get on board with it.

Sigh. Double sigh. Pray for our country. And for heaven's sake, VOTE!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


We have just returned [four days ago] from a wonderful camping trip. The ultimate camping trip, as far as I'm concerned (especially considering our many other trips this summer were somewhat "training" for this one). With friends, we spent four days in Northern Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area. And canoe we did. A lot. And we carried very heavy backpacks over portages. But it wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be. It was incredibly rewarding to be able to do those things. And it was fun to swim and relax and take it all in. Mostly, it was magical being in such a beautiful place.

A list of some of the wildlife we saw: frogs, crayfish, bald eagles, loons, a coyote drinking from a lake (we were on the lake, so no worries), chipmunks, and many, many bugs.

A list of wildlife we ate: walleye.

A list of wildlife we heard: wolves howling at the full moon (seriously; VERY cool), and I'm certain something rustling in the bushes the third night when I couldn't sleep; the world may never know.

Enjoy the pictures. (Group photo above courtesy of Heather and Travas.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

2 Experiences

1. I spent last week at a conference in Chicago. I spent seven hours a day in the type of classroom learning we're not supposed to practice: open and pour. The first day was very intimidating, as we were just given dense material and they started going through it. But the more I learned, the more I got sucked in, and really, the more fun I had.

I spent last week learning the basics of the new program at my school: AVID (Achievement Via Individual Determination). I had never heard of the program before my principal mentioned it last April, but it turns out it has been around for over 20 years. High schools all over the US and some other countries practice it with much success. I'm excited to be one of them soon. It is a program to help middle-level students go to college, when they otherwise might not. They must have a GPA of 2.0-3.5, and have a circumstance that might prevent them from going to college (low income, minority, one parent, unsupportive/unavailable parents, first generation, etc.). The program enrolls them in rigorous coursework like honors and AP and helps them get through it and ultimately get to college. Levels upon levels of support and classwork and tutors get them there, and it is harder to explain than just this, but you get the idea. I'm very thrilled about it.

One of the best parts of the week were hearing the testimonials from students who have successfully gone through the program in the Chicago area. They talk about their AVID families. The connections they make with these teachers is supposed to be the best. In September 2009, I'll be one of those teachers. This fall, I'll be interviewing 8th-graders for admittance into my class for the next year. One student, Desiree, shared her story with me: her dad had split, and her mom was always either working or out with someone. She has no support from home. She told me she's been in AVID for 3 years, and her mom doesn't even know what it is. She was an amazingly articulate young lady who shared her story very openly. I asked her what advice she would give to me, a new AVID teacher. She said to be patient and understanding. These are huge demands to place on a high school teacher with 150 students to keep track of. But, ultimately, she's right. And it's the skill I lack the most in my teaching: patience. I always try to be understanding, but I usually rely on the student to come talk to me. I need to engage all of my students beyond just teaching them public speaking. I'm excited to be going back to school in a few weeks. I want to use everything these students taught me. I asked Desiree what she'd be doing in the fall. She's going to be attending SMSU in Marshall and majoring in Communications. When I left, she gave me a hug (and we had only spent 20 minutes together). She said hugs were really important in her AVID family.

(BONUS: Outside of classes, I befriended two of my colleagues. I've worked with them both for years, but we'd never had the opportunity to really talk and get to know each other. I'm very excited for this as well, because after Molly left (tear), I really didn't have any friends, and spent a lot of time last year feeling sorry for myself. So yay for new friends!)

2. I have officially taken action. I wrote on my last blog entry that I was volunteering with the political group to whom we donate money each year. I followed through with that last night. I spent over two hours on the phone calling people in support of a candidate for the State House of Representatives. It was really fun. Okay, not like jetskiing fun, but doing something good and discussing important things with other people fun. It was cool to see how the dialing computer system works (hence the delay when surveyors, telemarketers, etc. call you). And I was actually very surprised at the number of people who were willing to talk to me. More than not. Some people had way too much to say, and I had to keep myself from laughing a couple of times. One time I laughed out loud, and she appreciated it. After listening to the woman rant and rave for about five minutes:

Me: Well, Norma, you really seem to have the kind of conviction in your beliefs we value in our voters. [Blah, blah, blah, statistics about the candidate that are relevant to her rants.] I hope as you make your decision for the vote this fall, I hope you consider [candidate].

Her: Hmmmm. [Says candidate's name.] I remember every time I talk to someone in support of a candidate, and I have voo-doo dolls for them. What did you say your name was, dear?

Me: Emily.

Her: Well, Emily, I will remember you. If I vote for [candidate] and he ends up stinking, I am going stick your doll with pins.

Me: [laughing uncontrollably]

Her: [starts laughing, too]

Me: Well, Norma, if I am in pain in November and December, I will remember you. I really appreciate your taking the time to talk with me tonight.

Her: No, thank YOU. Most people would've hung up on a crazy old lady like me.

Me: I'd never do that.

Her: Well, I'm glad.

Me: You have a nice night.

Her: Okay, bye. [click.]

GOOD TIMES!!! Another guy spent about ten minutes telling me why we should only vote for politicians with the same moral and religious values as our own. I wanted to hang up with him, if only to get my call count up (he was wasting my time!), but I was compelled. Plus, it is my job to keep the candidate I'm supporting in a good light. And since I'd already said who I was calling to support, I couldn't hang up. What if in November all he remembered about the name when he saw it on the ballot is that someone from his campaign hung up on him? Nope. Had to listen.

Overall, we had a good night. We made over 1,000 calls, and 43% of them were in support of our candidate, 53% were undecided and only 4% were for his opponent. (We called people with a history of spotty voting, declared independents, and consistent split tickets. It's amazing, apparently, what you can get from voter registration.)


This weekend, we head to the BWCA for four days. I've never been and am rather nervous, but I am more excited than anything. One friend had this to say, "I've never felt closer to God than I do when I'm in the Boundary Waters." Well, that's something to look forward to. I shall report next week. Hugs, friends.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

27 Random Comments

1. On another blog on which this one is linked, I noticed I hadn't blogged in over two weeks. Ouch.
2. I bought a new sewing machine. I was sick of wrestling with my grandmother's and decided she'd rather I be sewing often and with ease than using her old machine. I will be attempting to finish my dog bed project this week.
3. We are taking our dogs camping for the first time this week. I am worried it will be a veritable symphony of barking, whining, and growling at every little noise throughout the night. Will they annoy me to a point of not enjoying myself? Stay tuned.
4. Shopping for new clothes is the most fun part of losing weight.
5. I bought said new clothes for my business trip next week. (I like to call it that, because it makes it sound way more professional than teacher training.) Out of 36 people going, I somehow wound up as the only person without a roommate (someone, I think, requested to be alone). Is it weird that this makes me really sad instead of happy? By the by, here is the hotel we're staying at. Hello???? What budget cuts? This IS the hotel where the conference is being held, but sheesh.
6. I should be working out right now, but I am blogging instead.
7. I have been sleeping way later than I should be.
8. Last night we rearranged the furniture in our living room to accommodate the new armoire I bought on craigslist. We are getting rid of our old corner entertainment unit and our big ugly coffee table, if anyone is interested.
9. It's a long way to 27.
10. I have signed up to volunteer with a political organization. I have donated money for a couple of years, but this time, when they called me, I felt compelled to say yes. Do I want to call people and knock on people's doors? No. But I am going to. Because I am sick to death of our current government and I need to do something other than complain and write checks.
11. I have also looked into volunteering at the Veterans' Home, so near my house. I have the coordinator's phone number. I am wary of making a commitment and then regretting it. That is certainly not the volunteer spirit. Maybe in September, when I am back in the swing? I just feel like such a slug.
12. Did you know fences are expensive? We are getting a new fence in our backyard, and the bids we've gotten are WAY more than I expected. I could buy LOTS of new clothes for these prices. Apparently cedar and nails have gone up in price, just like the rest of everything we buy.
13. There are four men in my backyard right now. They are cutting down trees. We have two huge black walnut trees and one ugly pine tree. One of the walnuts (the one threatening to crush our house) and the pine are being taken away. We will miss the shade, but will enjoy both the space and the ability to sit on our patio without a) sap and b) walnuts falling on our heads.
14. I finally read Wicked. Wow. I had no idea how great this book is. I hadn't even heard of it until the musical (of course). Now, the musical is coming back to Minneapolis. I need to go. The book is so much more than just a back story to the Wizard of Oz; it is excellent commentary on politics and love and family and the nature of good and evil. Worth the read. Now I want to read more of Gregory Maguire's books.
15. I also read my first Meg Wolitzer. Her latest, not even on that list, is The Ten-Year Nap. I am bookclubbing about it in less than two weeks, so I won't give a complete rundown, but I have to say: eh.
16. I love chocolate.
17. I miss chocolate.
18. I'm lamely trying to get to 27.
19. I have wonderful friends.
20. I have the best husband in the world.
21. My family loves me.
22. I'm going to paint the living room this week.
23. It will be a subtle stone, with one ostentatious orange accent wall.
24. I'm hoping it will draw out the crown-molding.
25. The weather is very humid, causing me to shy away from the bike ride I had planned. Instead, I will treadmill indoors where it is a cool 76.
26. I shall watch Friends, Season 5 whilst I treadmill.
27. Ta-da! I did it. Why 27? I turned 27 years old on Saturday. It was easier than 26. As long as I still get carded for buying booze (which I do), I'll feel young. And despite my making a stink about getting older, I know that I am still young. Plenty of time to do all the fun things I want to do. Like get highlights, and have lunch with my husband, and get a massage, and go to parties, and get presents, and go bowling (all the things I did to celebrate my birthday). Happy birthday to Anne, whose birthday was yesterday, and to Angie, whose birthday is this Sunday. Kisses.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

"Don't you live all the way downtown?"

Alec: I live right near here.
Carrie: Don't you live all the way downtown?
Alec: That is near.

Or something strikingly similar. (I have loaned my SATC collection to Kristin, so I can't watch the episode to verify.) One of thousands of lines from so many tv shows and movies taking place in New York City for which I had no frame of reference. But now, after annoying the hell out of my husband and friends by referencing so many said shows and movies (carriage ride in Central Park= Carrie and Big did this!; Impressionist rooms at the Met= This is where the Thomas Crown Affair took place!, etc, etc), I feel like I have captured a glimpse of that surprisingly massive and intimidating place.

Way back in December, some friends started seriously tossing the idea of a trip to NYC around. We had talked about it previously as a place we could all enjoy going together. This year, the conversation became serious for two reasons (and they may actually be equal): 1. our friend Mike was going to be living there for 3 months as a summer associate at some big, fancy law firm; 2. both Yankee and Shea stadiums are having their last hurrah this season. (My husband and my friends' husbands are huge baseball fans, so yes, that's enough to get us out there.) After many, many planning emails, we found ourselves together in a Midtown hotel on Friday, June 20th.

We really had an excellent time with many experiences, but it still felt like four days of trying to figure out what New York was all about. Friday when half of us went to a Broadway show, the other half went to the Village to hang out. When Patrick and I had a "date night" in/near Central Park, the others went to Coney Island. We went to ballgames in two burroughs, had dinner near Harlem, lunch in Little Italy, went shopping in Chinatown, walked Downtown and across the Brooklyn Bridge, and went to as many tourist (but WAY cool) locations as we could handle. Yet, there was so much we didn't do.

New York is absolutely immense. Being on top of the Empire State Building and looking down in every direction at building after building is crazy. But there's also water in every direction. I can't imagine there's any other place like it in the world. I can't wait to go back.

This is just a small glimpse. To see a more thorough depiction, click here. Disclaimer: my husband took these pictures, not me. I always give credit where credit is due. Enjoy!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Go, go, go, go, go, go, and go.

This is not my New York post. One might still expect a New York Post. Maybe even today. Indeed I have many things to say about New York; it was a great trip. But my head is a spinning, throbbing whirlwind of thought and experience now. Order is lost. I am sitting on my couch in my house alone with nothing to do for the first time in many, many days. And I'm not even supposed to be alone with nothing to do. But alas, I am. Okay, there are things I could do: unpack, do laundry, blog about New York, take the dogs to the park, finish my book club book (probably next on my list after this), take some ibuprofen for this headache, plan my meals, go grocery shopping, clean the bathroom (isn't there always something to clean?), figure out how to get my sewing machine working again so I can finish the dog beds I've been working on for two months, weed my haphazard garden, rake the backyard of walnuts and twigs; so, so much I could do. Frankly, I don't feel like doing any of it.

We left for New York on June 19th. We have not been alone since. When we returned from the East, family had already flown in for the big reunion extravaganza. Plans with them every day leading up to said extravaganza. To the homestead for partying and pictures and tree planting and hayriding and all the other things that make an extravaganza an extravaganza. Home on our one-year wedding anniversary, but not alone. Family needing a place to stay lives on our floor until we left last Thursday to camp for the holiday. Last night, on our way home from camping, to my hometown to see my mom and pick up my sister and her husband. Houseguests once again before they fly back South, their migrations quite shorter than birds. But finally MY houseguests. We have played hosts to my husband's family more times than I can count, but finally someone of my blood needing, nay wanting, to use our guest room. My sister and I were going to spend time together for the only time this year. I visited her in March, and that will likely be the next time I see her as well. They are not coming home for Christmas. This was their one trip. They are not in my guest room.

A miscommunication results in them not coming home with us. Hopefully, I will still see her today. Then, it is only one more week until we leave again, this time for a family reunion in South Dakota. The weekend of my birthday free, then all of August is booked. Literally. 1-3: camping; 3-8: work training; 12: book club; 14-17: BWCA; 22-24: fishing weekend with some girls; 25: back to work. WHERE DID MY SUMMER GO? Where are my lazy days doing nothing? Here, today, in my lap, unwanted and with headache.

Next year, if you ask me, "So, what are you doing this summer?" and I reply anything but, "Oh, not much" please slap me.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Coming Soon

Feature attractions coming soon to this blog:

1. Pictures and commentary from our trip to the Big Apple starring Emily, Patrick, Anne, Josh, Val, Mike, Heather, and Travas!

2. Thoughts (and pictures) on love and family starring the entire in-law clan!

3. Comments from viewers wondering why I don't blog more often when I am not working. (I wonder the same thing, frankly, as I know I am very busy, but so is Molly and she blogs on each of her many blogs many times a week. She, however, is SuperWoman, and I, most evidently, am not.)

Cheers, bloggers.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Summer vacation so far...

Brief highlights in pictures. I have had a great summer so far. At the farm, our niece's graduation party, at the zoo (notice the brand new Aveda Butterfly Garden and Russia's Grizzly Coast...both worth the trip), Jen's oldest son Lucas playing t-ball and his little brother (my godson) Colin being his usual adorable self. I've done a lot of fun things I don't have pictures of, but I've been neglecting my blog, so I thought some pictures could make up for it :-).

Sorry to put so many up at one time. Hope you enjoyed them (if you looked at them all).