Saturday, November 30, 2013


**Note: this blog was supposed to be automatically uploaded on 11/30/13 - but for some reason it wasn't and I'm only now realizing it. **

I'm writing this while sitting at my sister's house, watching Pitch Perfect with my sis, BIL, nieces, and cousin Brent. This is significant, because my sister has INTERWEBS THAT WORK! So I can post the pictures from our Thanksgiving extravaganza!!

Let's start with this . . .
We were impatiently waiting for everyone to get to mum's house - and we were hungry! That's my sis on the right and my mum in the middle. Here's a better picture of the three of us . . .

And a picture of all the cousins who were present. . .

If you look closely, you'll find my brother, who always makes stupid faces for pictures. Klassy. We celebrated my cousins Kim and Karen turning 50. And I have to say - they make 50 look AMAZING!
It's become a tradition that everyone helps bring down all my mum's Christmas stuff from upstairs. There is a whole assembly line to pass it down the stairs.
Today, mum and I are meeting my dad and his wife for breakfast. We will also be putting up another Christmas tree. And this evening we will be going to basketball games. I'm so excited to see 2 of my nephews play and my niece cheer!

One final note - this marks my last post for NaBloPoMo. I think I'm motivated to blog more often, though writing EVERY day got to be a bit much.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Food Coma

Yesterday was amazing. So much food. So much family. So much laughter and gossip. So much abuse I took because the Packers played abysmally. It was AWESOME!

I have amazing pictures I'd like to share, but my mum's internet is So! Freaking! Slow! that I can't even get my computer to stay connected for more than 3 minutes. I'm typing this on my mum's computer, and these two small paragraphs have taken nearly 15 minutes to pump out. Because . . . So! Slow! Internet!

Also. I'm still in a food coma. Which is perfect.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Yesterday, I came home. To Ohio. I confuse friends and family quite often when I refer to both Wisconsin and Ohio as "home." But really, both are home.

My mum lives in the same house I grew up in. We moved in when I was 5, so she's lived here 42 years. I lived here for 17 years. And though I only visit 2-3 times a year, I still have it memorized. I can walk through the house in the dark and easily find my way around. I know which steps are creaky. I know just where to set the heat vent in the guest room so it's the perfect temperature. The house isn't "just a house" - it is home. But it also wouldn't be home without my mum.

Since the accident, I've been unsteady. I didn't just want to visit home, I needed to visit home. And from the moment I walked in the back door, I could feel myself becoming steady again. Turning the knob on the back door was familiar. Walking through the house to find mum was familiar. Mum's reaction to my surprise was exactly what I expected. Her hug was an anchor that made me feel grounded for the first time in weeks.

Later today - siblings, spouses, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, partners - a whole house full of people will pause for a moment and give thanks for the many, many blessings we share. This house, this home will creak and sigh under the weight of food and drinks and laughter. In its own way, it will provide a steady place for us to celebrate, keeping us warm and safe and protected.

I'm so thankful to be home.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I can't believe I did it!! I've wanted to blog and tweet and facebook that I was surprising my family for Thanksgiving - but I couldn't. I successfully surprised my mum (and really, my whole family!) by driving to Ohio today. To get here, I left at 6am, dropped 3 students off in Chicago, drove past a car completely engulfed in flames and drove through 45 minutes of nearly white-out snow in Indiana. WORTH EVERY BIT!!
I needed to see my mum. Really, really bad. I'm so happy to be here.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Brain

It was so freaking cold in my office today that I took down this wall hanging/blanket
And wrapped it around me like a dork.
I also discovered I am not the only person with Thanksgiving brain. No one wants to be in class. I'm so excited that tomorrow I don't have to actually teach any classes - because, UFDAH, that would suck!

Monday, November 25, 2013


I am so ready for Thanksgiving break. I'm ready to sleep in. I'm ready to grade until my brain hurts, because I can stay in my pajamas. I'm ready to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I'm ready to make my amazing cornbread stuffing. In fact, that may be the ONLY thing I make, because, have you seen the price of turkeys?

I'm ready for 4 days of being completely selfish about what I do with my time. This is one of the BIG advantages of being single! I can read when I want. I can crochet when I want. I can watch Dr. Who for 14 hours straight, or take a nap. Or take 4 naps in 1 day.

I've decided I'm not putting up a Christmas tree this year, since I'd only have it up a couple of weeks and it's just not worth fighting the cats over. But that means I have more time to wrap presents! I have to finish making the presents - but then I can wrap them!

I may not shower the entire weekend. Because I probably won't leave the house. I may watch cat videos for most of Friday. And Saturday I may watch the entire Harry Potter movie montage. Or maybe I'll bake Christmas cookies and watch Scrooge.

The point is - I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE HOLIDAY TO GET HERE!!! Seriously, every person I interacted with today has already mentally left for Thanksgiving break. The fact that we have classes until 5pm on Wednesday is ridiculous. The good news for me is that once I get through my 3 classes tomorrow, I'm sort-of home free.

Ooohhh - pumpkin pie. I need to make and consume pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie with a side of cornbread stuffing sounds absolutely perfect.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


I have graded and graded and graded today. I'm caught up except for 1 class of papers. Not bad. Once I get through that batch, I'm done grading papers for the semester and will move on to grading speeches, presentations, outlines and bibliographies for the rest of the semester.

There are only 2 1/2 weeks of classes and a week of finals left of the semester. Ufdah. Finals run through December 20th. Who has an exam from 3-5pm on the 20th? That's right, this girl! My students are completely irritated that I won't move the exam time/date. I've tried explaining that I'm a peon who's on contract, and that I really like my job, so I play by the rules. If they want to move their exam time, they have to go through the Dean of Students' office. That's right, I'm a big meanie.

Whenever I feel like complaining about not being able to travel to Ohio until December 21st, I try and remind myself that I'm blessed I get such a long break for the holiday! That is one of the advantages of working in academia - the built-in breaks. It makes working a 50-60 hour week during the school year worth it.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


The weather got cold and my joints are not happy. Especially my finger joints.
When my knuckles are swollen like sausages, it's hard to do any computer work. Or crocheting. Or embroidery. Or anything needing hands. This post is being pecked out one letter at a time. Which is a pain, literally and figuratively.

I did get some grading done, which is good. And have done some reading, though Tonks tried hogging the book when I wasn't looking.
I'm hoping this cold spell won't last long. I've got Christmas presents to make, and unfortunately, I don't know how to crochet with my toes.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Rule of 3's

Bad things come in 3's, right? If so, I think I just survived the third bad thing . . . a 24 hour stomach bug. Ufdah. Not fun. I managed to pull a muscle in my neck and flare up my chest pain (costochondritis) which, now that I'm not nauseous, is really hurting. Once I finally stopped throwing up and being nauseous yesterday afternoon, I slept. About 14 hours straight. That was good.

Today I had an appointment with the new arthritis doctor. My beloved rheumatologist of 10 years retired in August. She was freaking amazing and I miss her terribly. The new doc (Dr. S) is actually a doc that un-retired to fill in while they hire someone new. This was mainly a visit to check on how I am doing on Humira. He wanted some blood work done to check liver, kidney, general blood levels - blah blah blah.

Normally, I'm a difficult "stick" when it comes to drawing blood. Because I was also dehydrated from being sick, it was a bit of a nightmare. Three people tried to get a vein and the lab was in the process of contacting the doctor to recommend I get some IV fluids before they tried to get blood again - when the phlebotomist FINALLY struck gold, er, red! A call later today confirmed all my "levels" were good.

I've spent today drinking sprite, eating chicken noodle soup and napping. I've done a little bit of grading and answering emails, but I'm still a little shaky. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be feeling even better and can make progress with grading.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

One of my favorite things . . .

 . . . is coffee. Today, I brought a whole pot to the office.
I wouldn't have survived without it. Thanks, coffee.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Today I went in for a chiropractor adjustment. I love my chiropractor. She's helping me manage my arthritis pain that gets so horrible in the winter. And she has been an absolute God-send in helping with getting my spine and neck back in line after the car accident.

She's also really intuitive. At least once a week, she asks me how I'm doing, psychologically, since the accident. Today she specifically asked me if I was having any issues with driving. I didn't expect the question, but the answer is one that has been on my mind for several weeks. . .

Yes. I'm having some issues when driving. Not all the time - but at least once a day, I have a mini-freak-out while driving. I can hear my heart pounding and I balance on the cusp of hyperventilating and the accident plays out in slow motion in my head. Sometimes, it happens at home as well. It's hard to describe, but the panic is so swift and unexpected that it takes every ounce of self-control to tamp it back down.

I want my chiropractor to adjust my brain so I feel sturdy and safe again. Because right now, I feel like the smallest thing could shatter me.

Monday, November 18, 2013

First attempt at live blogging

I thought it would be fun to live blog my new water heater installation. And by fun, I mean I want to document every cent of the $1474 this is costing me . . . so here goes . . .

8am  . . . Waiting for plumber to show up

8:07am . . . Realize I've missed a call from the plumber's shop. Panic that they aren't coming.

8:08am . . . Confirm with the plumber's shop that they are, indeed, on their way.

8:20am . . . Still waiting

8:30am . . . Still waiting

8:45am . . . Still waiting. Call Karen to remind her why I am not in the office.

9:00am . . . He's here! There are two of them! Ken (he told me his name, but I don't remember it because I was too busy trying not to gawk at Brian - who is super hot, and I actually remember his name) asked to see "what we've got goin'" And I really, really hope he realizes he's here to install a water heater.

9:06am . . . Ken has spent the last 5 minutes letting me know what a horrible job the last water-heater-installer did. He has also expressed through a series of heavy sighs and mutterings under his breath that he is not in the mood for a water heater install.

9:07am . . . I decide Ken doesn't really exist and pour all my attention to Brian.

9:30am . . . There has been a lot of going in and out of both house doors. And some bang-type sounds from under the trailer. I reassure myself that these guys are professionals and know what they are doing.

9:45am . . . Ken becomes un-imaginary when he asks me if I know who runs the mobile-home park. The master shut off in "the pit" isn't working, and they will need the park to shut off water. I am, supposedly, supposed to know what "the pit" is. I imagine it to be the place where future holes in the floor lurk until a time when they can attack.

10:00am . . . After calling the park office and not getting an answer, I spend time driving through the park, looking for Rob, the manager. I find him and he calls Gary, the maintenance guy and asks him to go to my house to turn off the water.

10:15am . . . Gary and his young side-kick (I can never remember his name - ufdah, I'm awful with names) shows up and within 3 minutes shows Ken and Brian that there is a direct shut off valve for the hot water heater. They both look embarrassed (which could be because Gary is about 165 years old and speaks with a condescending tone that makes you question every decision you've ever made in your life, even if he's just saying "Hello") but to be honest, it's pretty hidden and I can understand how they missed it.

10:20am . . . Gary sends his side-kick to check the valve in "the pit" and make sure "it'll kick in" - no clue what he's talking about. My neighbor comes over to check on me (I have the best neighbors!) and chat with the guys.

10:30am . . . The guys are still chatting about . . . stuff?? So I excuse myself and come back inside, because DANG it got cold out!

10:45am . . . I realize that my new water heater is sitting outside, so I take a selfie with it.
11:30am . . . Lots of pounding coming from the back of the house. I believe they are putting in a new floor.

Noon . . . New water heater is carried in!!

12:37pm . . . I realize the cats, who have been locked in the storage room, are trying to burrow their way out, so I wedge a towel under the door. They are so mad at me.

1:04pm . . . Old water heater is carried out!!

1:15pm . . . Lots of clanking. I realize I've had two men in my bedroom for the last 4 hours, all in an effort to keep me hot and wet. (Get your mind out of the gutter.)

2:00 . . .There is confirmation that shut-off valves have been put on inside. Yea?

2:32pm . . . There is a leak in one of the new lines, so it has to be replaced.

2:50pm . . . About 10 minutes spent getting the pilot light going strong.

3:15pm . . . Ken and Brian start closing up all the trailer skirting while the water heater does it's job. I'm trying to think of what I can say in order to get Brian to smile one more time.

3:30pm . . . Ken comes in and shows me how to adjust the water temperature.

3:32pm . . . Brian comes in a breaks my heart when I realize he's wearing a wedding ring. Dang it.

3:40pm . . . After testing that the water is actually heating, they are off!

3:50pm . . . I head to school! I will make it in time for one meeting.

6pm . . . Back home, I test the water. It is super, super hot. Too hot. I turn it down a teeny bit.

6:10pm . . . Luna CATCHES ANOTHER FREAKING MOUSE!! I scream.

6:11pm . . . Mouse escapes. I set mouse traps.


7:41 . . . Mouse escapes again.

8:24pm . . . There is much commotion in the corner of the kitchen. I think the mouse is being terrorized. I wish it would just GET IN THE DANG TRAP.

8:27pm . . . I am done with this live blog. Unfortunately, I think there is still a mouse murder to occur tonight. At least I'll have hot water to wash away the crime scene.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Some days . . .

 . . . this job is hard.

I love the kids.
I love the activity.
I love my colleagues.
I love traveling.
I love the adventure.

Until the occasional moment when I absolutely hate it. Isn't that odd?

I realize I'm lucky that I am comfortable and secure in my job - both teaching and coaching - and that 98% of the time, I'm so happy to be getting paid for something I love to do. But there was about an hour yesterday when I was SO FUCKING OVER IT. I was ready to dump the kids on the side of the road, take the Sunday tournament money, kick my mini-van rental into high gear, and go buy shoes and liquor. It was about a 5 second fantasy. Then I had to quit being pissed off and figure out how to lead by example.

That's the really, really hard part of this job. These students come to us as young adults, but really, they don't know much about being an adult. (Hell, I'm still figuring that out.) Part of competing in forensics is learning adult life lessons - things like being aware of how our behaviors affect others, being gracious, controlling our tempers, being grateful for opportunities, and learning to be honest.

I'm a flawed human who struggles with these very issues, and is just trying every day to be a better person. I'm inspired by many, many people around me, and I hope that in being a better person, I can lead by example. But I absolutely hate remembering that when I'm really pissed off.

So yesterday, I found a quiet corner that contained an ashtray, and spent 15 minutes breathing in the disgusting, yet familiar, smell of wet, used-up cigarettes. No, I didn't smoke (Duh, non-smoker - remember?) but the solitude was what I needed to let go of my irritation, fashion a script in my head that would change the direction of my pissed off psyche, and to just breathe.

Today, I'm back to loving the job. Every minute of it. Because some days . . . well, some days are easy.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


I'm in Whitewater WI for a speech tournament this weekend. Whitewater may be one of the most dismal places - at least from my perspective. Nearly every year we come to this tournament, the weather is horrid. Today it is windy and drizzling. Ick. Good thing I quit smoking.

Let me say that again . . .

Good! Thing! I! Quit! Smoking!

Smoked my last cigarette on Sunday. Woke up as a non-smoker on Monday. Lived through an emotional crisis on Wednesday. If I make it through a forensics weekend, it's safe to say being a non-smoker suits me.

Do you know how many times I've quit smoking? More than the number of 1st dates I've had in my lifetime, and that's a lot. I have no idea why I'm so sure it's going to "stick" this time, but I have no doubt about it - I'm a non-smoker.

Up until letting the whole world (or 6 people who regularly read my blog) know, I had only told a couple of people. I guess I didn't want to make a big deal out of it. I know it's a big deal, I just find it odd when people want to congratulate me for changing a behavior that was completely idiotic in the first place. Kind of like congratulating a potential murderer for not going through with it.

So anyway. Yea me.

Friday, November 15, 2013

I'm dating . . .

While I love being single, it has been brought to my attention that going through a crisis with a significant other means there is someone to talk through decisions with, someone to lean on, someone to cry with. I was also not-so-gently reminded this was supposed to chronicle a year trying to find Mr. Wright, and I've been shirking my duties.

So . . . I re-visited eHarmony, POF & OK Cupid . . .

  • There are still far, far too many men posting hunting pictures. I am not interested in dead Bambi.
  • If your username is "rocketdawg_taco," I'm not even a teeny bit interested.
  • If your first email to me is "Hey Lover, want to talk?" Uhm, no.
I think I'll stick with dating Netflix.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Today, I woke up at peace. I can't explain it, except to say that I was trusting everything would work out. I had prayed for peace, and peace had come.

I got the news late today that the plumbing company will let me finance the repair, so I'll be able to pay it off in installments. I'm relieved, but honestly - not surprised. I was trusting that a plan would reveal itself, and it did. The plumber can't come until Monday, but again, I'm trusting that will be just fine.

Trust. Perhaps the message I'm meant to get?

In the mean time, I've become freaked out about sleeping in my bedroom because there is a hole in the floor. Granted, the hole is sealed behind the cubby wall, but I keep imagining a rabid raccoon finding it's way up through the hole (which is too small for anything but a small squirrel) and into my bed. Irrational? Yes. But until the repair is done, I'm sleeping at the other end of the house in the guest bed!

For those who have said a prayer for my sanity or whispered calming words that found their way to me - thank you. It's been an odd few weeks. I feel there is still more for me to learn from the accident/water heater disaster - but I will continue to process and get to the healthy (both physical and spiritual) place I need to be. I trust it will be so.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

When It Rains . . .

Last night before bed, I thought my bedroom floor felt a bit damp. Just in one spot, but I couldn't quite tell. Mobile homes tend to have cold floors, because, you know, they are basically sitting in mid-air. I couldn't tell if the floor was cold or damp. It was late. I was tired. I went to bed.

This morning, as I jumped out of bed to cross the room and turn off my alarm, there was no doubt - the carpet was wet. Dang. (Seriously - I'm so emotionally exhausted I don't even have the energy to swear properly.) I traced the source of the damp/wet carpet to the closet, where my water heater sits behind a removable wall. I've never opened the scary/secret place known as "the cubby that holds the water heater." And I've lived here 15 years. I was scared. Then I was irritated. The removable wall is held in place by the wonkiest screws I have ever seen. Nothing I had would get them off. I ran across the road to my AMAZING neighbor's house. Mike was home and had the exact tool I needed to remove the screws. He insisted on coming over and checking things out with me. (Mike and his wife Carol are what I like to call "Good People" - they give unconditionally and continuously. They are the best neighbors ever!)

Mike got the screws out and we carefully removed the wall. This is what greeted us:
As you can see, there were 15 years of cobwebs. *Shiver* But if you look closer, you can see what really freaked me out . . .

Do you see it? That pink bit behind the cobwebs? It's a HOLE!!! That goes straight down to the ground.

What I didn't capture in a picture was that the whole unit was leaning back and the exhaust chimney had become unconnected. Meaning? It is a true miracle I didn't end up a carbon dioxide death statistic. At this point? I was freaking out, trying not to hysterically burst into tears in front of my neighbor. Mike left and I called the mobile-home company I've used for years. They could have someone out for an estimate later in the afternoon. Great.

I headed in to work, I had a full day of coaching and I was so excited to see some Alumni who were coming in to coach as well. I spent the day trying not to cry in my office. I had a freaking Hole! In! My! Floor! that my water heater could fall through at any moment. Finally at 3pm, I got the call the plumber was on the way and I headed home.

Let me pause here to note that J. the plumber was so very, very kind. I warned him that my usual non-crying self was not co-operating and I might burst into tears. He should just ignore me. And he did.

The good news? He was not at all surprised or disturbed I had a hole in the floor. He said it was a good thing, as most of the water was draining out the hole and not running under the floorboards of the mobile home. He also said it was fine to use until it was fixed, even leaning over and not hooked up to the vent. What calmed me down more than anything was just how calm HE was. He closed up the cubby and did some checking under the trailer and came back in with an estimate.

This is where there's really bad news. Want to know how much it costs to repair a hole in the water heater cubby and replace a gas water heater?

Exactly. I don't HAVE $1500 laying around because I just crashed my car. So, I filled out an application for financing, which I will find out about tomorrow. If it's not approved, I seriously have no idea what I'll do. But I'm trying really, really hard to not worry about it. I am trusting that a solution will present itself. And I'm praying I will have grace and patience getting through this hurdle.

All day, when I've started to become overwhelmed and on the edge of a panic attack, I've tried to remember that this is a drop in the bucket compared to "big problems." I have 2 friends battling breast cancer. That's bigger than a water heater that needs replaced. The news is reporting a man in town lost his whole house to a fire last night. That's bigger than a water heater that needs replaced. There are people in the Philippines with no access to food, water and medical care. That makes my water heater issue seem like an incredibly small problem.

I'm really trying to count my blessings - because I know they are still present even though I am so exhausted from my string of bad luck. I have amazing friends who will let me talk through problems and say the supportive things I need to hear. I have a mum who will let me ugly cry for 30 minutes on the phone, which really does make me feel better. I have a sister who calls at exactly the right time and lets me ugly cry to her as well, though not for as long as mum does :-) I have kitties who don't judge when I cry and snot into their fur.
And I have warm, fuzzy blankets I can burrow under to forget all my troubles, even if it's for just a while.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


I teach Public Speaking from 8am - 9:14am on Tuesdays & Thursdays. Today at 9:10am I paused in my wrap-up to point out that it was 9:10, 11/12/13. I had been waiting all! class! for that moment. I'm a dork that way.

I teach Media and Pop Culture from 12:30pm - 1:45pm on Tuesdays & Thursdays. I start every class with a song or video. Today we listened to "Cecilia" by Simon & Garfunkel. If you don't know this song, you live a sad life. Listen to it here. Today's lecture, I got to talk about how TV shows have changed over the decades, with a special focus on why reality TV and crime shows became so popular after 9-11. Fascinating stuff.

I teach Listening from 5pm - 7:45pm on Tuesdays. I'm usually exhausted by 4pm and can't imagine teaching a 3 hour class. But 4:30-5pm is the bewitching half-hour and I magically transform into someone who has energy! and enthusiasm! for what she teaches. This is usually due to the energy drink I downed at 4pm. Tonight, we talked about critical listening and watched a half-dozen commercials, analyzing logos, ethos and pathos. Then I convinced half the class to come live on my island, Jim Jones style, and proved they ought to work on improving their critical listening or they would end up drinking wonky koolaid.

In between classes, I coach and have some time to grade. I bribe myself while grading. For example, today I was grading listening journals. For every 10 I graded, I got to watch a youtube video. I became obsessed with this video, which illustrates exactly how I feel after hours of grading. During another break, I laughed my fool head off at this one.

I am finally home, drinking a cup of decaf coffee, and listening to "Cecilia" one more time. It was a good day.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Mondays

I find Mondays exhausting. For one thing, I coach a bajillionty hours. And on Mondays, I'm optimistic, so it's always intense coaching. Also - it's a 9-10 hour day. And tomorrow is a 12 hour day - which will totally overwhelm me if I'm not careful. I'm ready to go to bed by 6pm.

Except my mum called and asked me to call her 15 minutes before Dancing With the Stars is over so she won't sleep through the results. I can't go to bed because I have to be my mum's alarm clock. Ufdah.

Monday ends with our team forensics meeting. Tonight, we tested the freshpeople on their knowledge of AFA and NFA patterns. Three came through with perfect scores! Yea! We also drew for "Secret Santas." This is the first year I'm not participating in Secret Santa. Why? Because there is always someone who sucks as a Secret Santa and I have to police the behavior and it puts me in a very non-Santa mood. So, this year I can Grinch it up all I want making sure all the Santas play fair.

Speaking of Christmas, I've started making some gifts. And if I'm going to finish all I have planned, I'd better get my hind end in gear!

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Nearly every evening, Luna sits on the back of the cushy-chair in the living room, stares and the wall, and meows. These sessions usually last 5-10 minutes. I have decided either there is a ghost, or she's a bit crazy.

Or maybe it's a kind of zen, cat-yoga.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Early Morning Peace

I've never written a post so early in the morning, but what the heck.

Morning is my favorite time of day. I'm slow in the morning. It takes me a good hour or two to get moving. I get up early so I can enjoy this time. A pot of coffee, the morning news (I'm a Today Show girl!), the interwebs, a kitty cuddled on each side of me . . . bliss. The peacefulness of morning reminds me to be grateful and it's when I do most of my praying.

Morning is my planning time. It's when the day is still full of possibility and I'm optimistic about what the day will bring. I usually make a to-do list, checking yesterday's list to see what I forgot. Today's list isn't long, but it's "dense" - meaning some of the tasks will take a lot of time. But that's OK, I have the whole day ahead of me.

What is on today's list?
1. Dust and vacuum my filthy house
2. Mix up cookie dough to be baked tomorrow
3. Grade 60 exams
4. Dig out winter coats/hats/gloves/scarves
5. Supervise the students I have coming to rake leaves
6. Clean out the litter box
7. Do some research for school
8. Write at least 2 letters

I won't complete everything on the list. I often become distracted by "organizing" tasks and veer off the list on a tangent that lasts the whole afternoon. But I'm OK with that. The point is that in these early morning, peaceful moments, anything is possible.

Now, you will have to excuse me. My coffee cup is empty and I'm going to have to disturb the kitties in order to get up and pour a 3rd cup. Then, it's on to tackling my list. Or taking a nap.

Friday, November 8, 2013

10 thoughts on a Friday

Things on my mind today . . .

1. I'm bummed my Winterim class got cancelled due to low enrollment. That was a chunk of money I could have really used. I'm going to trust that, as my mum always says, "It will be OK!"

2. My friend K. is in the Philippines for work. I'm worried about her and hope she is safe.

3. Luna is finally talking to me again. I spent $8 on contained mouse traps in the hope that there will never again be an episode like The Great Mouse Murder of 2013. I have no problem with dead mice. I have a huge problem with half-alive mice in Luna's cat-jaws-of-terror.

4. Sometimes I don't think I'm smart enough to do my job.

5. I have a pipe-dream that Marshall Mathers (Eminem) would come and guest lecture in my Pop Culture class. That would be so freaking amazing.

6. I wish someone would come and clean my house for me. But first I'd have to clean it so I wouldn't be embarrassed by how filthy it is.

7. Getting paid once a month is cool, because once I pay all my bills on the first of the month, I know how much money I have left.

8. Getting paid once a month sucks because when the 19th or 20th day of the month gets here, I start realizing how little money I have left for the month.

9. I have 35 papers and 60 tests to grade this weekend.

10. In 771 days I will turn 50.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tonks is my favorite

Tonks and Luna chase each other every evening. It's a game of tag that starts at 8pm sharp (well, 7pm sharp since DST) and lasts at least an hour. It is cute and adorable and annoying. 

This evening as I listened to them chase each other through the house, I could tell something was different, something was off. At one point, Luna sat in the middle of the living room with her mouse toy in her mouth, taunting Tonks that she was losing the game of "keep-away." And then, the mouse moved.



To say that I screamed would be an understatement. The sound that echoed from the depths of my being was a guttural cry of fear, rage and freaked-the-fucked-outed-ness.

Luna immediately RAN AWAY WITH THE MOUSE!!! I jumped off the couch and chased her down the hall to my bedroom. She was on MY bed PLAYING with the mortally wounded mouse. WHAT. THE. FUCK?!? When she saw me, she grabbed the twitching mouse and ran back down the hall. Asshole. I chase her back to the living room, all the while screaming non-sense at the top of my lungs. I just wanted her to DROP THE MOUSE!!! I chased her around the living room and at one point threw a Kleenex box at her, hoping it would get her to DROP THE DAMN MOUSE!!!

I should note here, that Tonks just sat on the kitchen table watching all of this unfold. Tonks knows when I scream like that, I mean business. Tonks would have handed me the mouse on a freaking silver platter. TONKS IS MY FAVORITE.

I chased that bitch Luna back down the hall to my bedroom, screaming that PETS DON'T GET TO HAVE THEIR OWN PETS, where she had taken up shelter UNDER MY BED. My worst nightmare. I had no way of actually grabbing her. Now, under my bed I have storage boxes of shoes (it's an addiction problem, don't ask) and I started hurtling them towards her, trying to get her to come out from under the bed, screaming at her to DROP THE FUCKING MOUSE RIGHT NOW YOU STUPID CAT!!! And the next thing you know, a mouse comes flying out from under the bed and hits me in the knee.

You know what happens next. I screamed bloody-murder again. I was so relieved Luna had given up the stupid mouse, and then it dawned on me - I HAD TO DO SOMETHING WITH THE MOUSE!!!

I grabbed the closest thing to me, which was a pair of dirty underwear from the clothes hamper and threw them on the still twitching body of the mouse. Now, anyone who has grown up in the country would probably tell me I should have put the mouse out of it's misery. I just didn't have it in me. I ran that little twitching mouse body straight to the trash and took it out to the bin as fast as my chubby legs would carry me. I was out of breath and full of adrenalin. I screamed the entire time. Not even kidding.

As I came back in and shut the door, my house was oddly quiet. First, there was no one screaming. Also, my chest wall was killing me as I had not moved that fast since my car accident. And Tonks was judging me from the kitchen table. In my calmest voice, I called out, "Good job, Luna! Nice job catching the mouse for mommy!" No response.

It is now 45 minutes since what shall be known from here on out as "The Great Mouse Murder of 2013" and my painkillers are kicking in and my breathing is returning to normal. Luna refuses to acknowledge my existence. I suppose I would be pissed if someone took away my favorite new toy. While it's nice to know Luna's hunting instincts are intact, I really need her to be normal and just plop the mortally injured mouse at my feet. She needs to understand that when it comes to mice, I will always win.

(I actually wrote this yesterday, shortly after The Great Mouse Murder of 2013 occurred, but since I had already written my NaBloPoMo for Wednesday, I saved it to post today. If you are wondering, Luna is still pissed at me.)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Divine in the Ordinary

I bought a car.

There is an amazing amount of relief in being able to type that. It feels like it's one step closer to putting the accident behind me.

I went to the Kia dealer for the first time on Monday. I was looking at 2013 Kia Sportages. They were new! And shiny! And had so many bells! and! whistles! I went in wanting to replace the beloved Sportage I had crashed with an exact replica. But as I was looking at sticker prices and loan rates I was overwhelmed. At some point, my sales guy, Matt, asked "What are the features you really want in your next car?" I looked at him blankly. So he asked "What features did you love in your old car?" Uhm . . . it took me a minute to answer, and even then my answer (the sun roof and the key less start) was lame. I realized I didn't want a replica of my crashed up car, I wanted MY car BACK. And that wasn't going to happen.

Matt, being the great sales guy that he is, sensed my hesitation and went in a completely different route. He pointed out a pre-owned vehicle they had on the lot. It was a 2011 Sportage with all-wheel drive and 16,000 miles. It was a model "below" what I had owned before and didn't have nearly so many bells and whistles. I had not even considered buying a pre-owned vehicle. But I was intrigued. I told Matt I'd need a day or so to do some research, but I'd be back on Wednesday for a test drive.

This unexpected choice was really playing with my head. I don't know if it makes sense, but there was (is) a part of me that feels like I don't deserve a nice, shiny, new car because I crashed the nice, shiny, year-old car I had. I don't deserve nice things if I can't keep them nice. Silly, I know.

And I know I don't talk about my religion on my blog much, but I have to bring it up here. I prayed on this choice. I prayed a lot. I prayed to be led into the direction that would be best. And then, I listened.

As I walked into the Kia dealership today, I knew I was going to purchase that 2011 Sportage. First thing I did was take it for a test drive. It felt . . . right. I had written a "starting" offer on a note card and gave it to Matt. Thus began the game of offer/counter offer. I'm proud to say that not once, but twice I put on my coat and asked Matt if there was anything else on the lot I could look at. Both times he said he'd "check with his manager" one more time. If I'm honest, I have no idea what I'd have done if I had to go through with my bluff! When all was said and done, I got them to come down 13% from their initial offer. And if I compare what I paid to and KBB, I fall right in the middle. So I may not have made the BEST deal, but I'm still pretty proud I didn't get taken for a schmuck.

It was interesting, as I drove off the lot, I had a moment that I acknowledged having to say goodbye to my 2012 Sportage. I'm going to miss the key less start (now I have to keep track of keys again!) and sunroof and heated seats. I had to, in a sense, grieve the loss of owning something so "special."

My new car is quite ordinary. And I'm absolutely gobsmacked that I'm OK with this. Driving this car feels safe. And I know I'm repeating myself, but it also feels right. I feel like I opened myself up to being led by God to this decision. And if there is a lesson to be had in this car-buying process, it is that I need to listen for God's answer more often.

One final note . . . one of the things that was quirky and cool about my 2012 Sportage is that it had a cooled glove-box. On long trips, it served as a cooler - which was the COOLEST (pun intended) thing. When I got home with my new car, I opened the glove-box to put some paperwork in it. Guess what . . . it has the same kind of cooled glove-box. A sign? I believe it is.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Who Wants to Make a Deal?

I think I'm going to buy a car tomorrow. It's a pre-owned Sportage. It looks kind of like this:
So, it's cute. But more importantly, it has AWD. That was the kicker for me. I know I'm going to have to "haggle" on the price, and that's making me a bit nervous. So, being the nerd I am, I went online and watched videos of how to negotiate on a car price. The best info I found came from here:

I have my starting bid, and how much I'll go up to, set in my head. If we end up higher than I want, I'll ask Matt (my sales guy) to show me something else on the lot. I'm also bringing my tablet with, KBB and NADA all bookmarked. I am READY TO RUMBLE. And praying I don't get taken for a schmuck.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Luna has been my snuggle kitty all day. She is usually the shy, stand-off-ish kitty. Except when I don't feel well - that's when she gets all snuggly.

Tonks is in my face All. The. Time.

She is the social kitty. They are sister's I adopted 2 years ago when they were teeny-tiny kittens.

So teeny.

And playful.

Their names are inspired by my love of Harry Potter. Luna Lovecat and Catadora Tonks. Their names fit them perfectly. Luna does odd things like stare at the wall and meow for 20 minutes at a time, nearly every evening. It's creepy. Tonks will bop me on the face with her paw if she wants attention. It's adorable and annoying.

I'm amazed at how much they have grown over the last 2 years. And it's funny - I never thought I was a "cat" person. But how could you not love this face?? She is TOTALLY judging me.

I've been running a low grade fever since yesterday, and was afraid I was getting sick. After some googling, a call to the urgent care clinic confirmed a fever can sometimes accompany costochondritis. So, yea. Chest wall pain is a bit better, which is good - because again, today I did NOTHING!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

"Resting" is bullshit.

Have you ever had a horrible case of the hiccups? Hiccups so bad that your whole chest hurt? Hurt so bad that the pain went through to your spine? That's what this stupid chest wall injury feels like. I have been told to rest, ice my breast bone for 15 min every 2 hours, and make sure I am breathing deeply to prevent a partially collapsed lung. (I think that last bit was the doctor being over-dramatic.) So today, I rested. . .

Things I did today while resting:
1. Had the hiccups that woke me up at 3:30am.
2. Graded some papers at 4am.
3. Took pain meds at 5:30am.
4. Texted my forensics kids because they are at a tournament I should be at.
5. Cried a little because I wasn't at the tournament.
6. Drank a pot of coffee.
7. Read my first graphic novel. It was quite good.
8. Watched "World War Z." It freaked me out. Much more intense than the book. Also, not as good as the book.
9. Googled "Questions to ask if you are considering leasing a car."
10. Played solitaire on the computer.
11. Was entertained by the cats.

12. Set my alarm to go off 5 minutes before the start of each round of the tournament my forensics kids are at - I said lots of prayers that they were having a good day.
13. Left the house to get a massage. I was worried about laying on my chest, so the therapist had me use the "pregnancy" pillow. Worked like a charm.
14. Played some Angry Birds.
15. Napped.
16. Watched America's Next Top Model (don't judge)
17. Crocheted.
18. Stalked Facebook for pictures from the tournament I was missing.
19. Tried to edit a Duo, but my brain was too fuzzy.
20. Cleaned up my phone contact list.
21. Talked to my mum on the phone.
22. Checked my office email.
23. Talked to my brother on the phone.
24. Iced my chest, which just made me freaking cold.
25. Blogged.

Things I did NOT do today while resting:
1. Go to a forensics tournament
2. Clean my house
3. Do my laundry
4. Do any grocery shopping
5. Grade all of the Listening class journals
6. Grade Public Speaking class tests
7. Grade Public Speaking class speeches
8. Grade Listening class tests
9. Rake my yard
10. Shop for a car
11. Cry more than one time

Friday, November 1, 2013


I took a look back at some older postings and was startled to realize I've been blogging nearly a year. I'm quite amazed by that. And quite proud. I'm also surprised at how cathartic it has been to be able to put some of my experiences (the good and the hard) into words. In an effort to stretch my writing muscle, I've decided to sign up for NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month. Basically, I've pledged to post every day for the month of November. I can't guarantee every post will be interesting. In fact, I suspect some of them will be quite mundane.

If I combine NaBloPoMo with a month of Thankful posts on Facebook, I guess I have my social media commitment full for the month of November. This actually gives me a good excuse to continue ignoring all the dating websites I've been avoiding.

On another note, I did switch rental cars today, and have a Kia Soul to try out for the next week.
I'm seriously thinking about a Soul to replace the Sportage, so this will be a nice, long test drive.

Breast bone pain is still pretty significant. I'm trying to be patient with healing, but it's hard. Since I'm going to be blogging every dang day, I'll save the details for another blog entry :-)