Sunday, December 30, 2007

The good and the bad

I was about to write a post about what a great day I had visiting with Crunchy Forester when I heard an unusual sound. I tried ignoring it, but it didn't stop. I set my laptop down, paused The Sound of Music, and headed down towards the basement with dread. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind the sound was unnervingly familiar.

As I suspected, the sump pump was dry heaving. But alas, the expert is in town. I dashed back upstairs to phone my mom on her cell. She advised to unplug the misbehaving beast and volunteered her husband's aide.

So now I wait for them to arrive. Hopefully parts won't be needed, as 9:30 on a Sunday night is not the best time to need a hardware store.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Traditions

I am not of the religious persuasion, but I am very rooted in tradition. Traditions both societal and familial are often very important to me, which is part of the magic of Christmastime. This year I feel more alone than ever before; in recent years I spent time with FF and his family, before that I spent time with close friends who were also away from home for the holidays, and before that I lived with my parents. This year it's just me, so yesterday I went in search of one of the traditions that I've come to hold dear over the years.

At Second Home Nature Center, I assessed the melting snow and elected to leave my snowshoes in the car (a decision I would regret soon). I ignored the "closed to walking" sign as I headed down one of the trails, but I was very careful to not step on the ski tracks. I still felt guilty though like someone was going to come along and yell at me! Second Home sets the ski tracks so I could easily walk in the tire tracks along the side where the snow had been fairly well beaten down by the tractor wheels. On my return trip I gave into my guilt and switched over to the snowshoe trail, which had not been so trampled and was therefore like walking in sand at the beach. What a workout!

But the goal of my hike was right where I'd known it would be, nestled beneath the stilted roots of a birch tree.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Almost Here

I went shopping at an actual brick and mortar store this morning. I'd really hoped to avoid setting foot in a single store during the holiday rush, but it couldn't be avoided. I was in and out of two stand-alone box stores before 9:15 this morning. Quick and relatively painless. I never had to go to the mall! Yippee!

Now all I need is for the one of the gifts I ordered from Etsy to arrive tomorrow. If it doesn't, then I'm in trouble.

The temperatures have soared and our white Christmas is rapidly melting. The rain is supposed to start in a few hours.

I am not ready for Christmas day to be here already. Not because I need to do more shopping, but because I love the magic of the pre-Christmas build-up. It went by so quickly this year that I don't feel I got to savor the sweetness of it all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Forced Fun

The forced fun is in full swing at work. We had our big party yesterday afternoon. I don't mind that one too much. There are a wide variety of hors d'oeurves and an open bar. Who can complain about that? I stuff myself silly every year, and there are so many people I can just melt into the crowd.

Tomorrow we're having our own little office party. That's the one I don't care for. We always do pot lucks and the only food that gets brought in is chips and veggie platters and tons of cookies. But no real food. And the $5 gift exchange games are all so tedious. I think I'll try to slip out the back door and retreat to my desk. Maybe I'll actually be able to get some work done if everyone else is preoccupied.

And yet I still can't believe Christmas is only a few days away. I better do the rest of my shopping soon.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mellow Weekend

I'm enjoying a mellow weekend of Christmas carols and TV watching. I went out yesterday afternoon to buy a Christmas gift and another one that I'd ordered online arrived in the mail, so now I have two gifts to give. I've been spending oodles of time at Etsy checking out all the homemade and vintage items. It makes me feel a lot less like caving into the mad consumerism, but some of the people I have to buy for aren't exactly etsy-people.

If any of you are Etsy shoppers and would like to recommend certain sellers, I'd love to browse for ideas...

I wish I had supplies to bake some cookies, but I have no intention of going outside in this snow. Assuming I could even get out of the driveway....

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Further Clarification

Since I probably offended my academic readers with last night's vent, I figure I might as well go one step further and take aim at the scientists who read my blog.

Part of my problem with the teacher-prep program I'm in is that it's goal is to produce high school teachers that will be creating new scientists. This is simply not a goal I share or support. I do not like science, that is science in the way they mean. I do not like lab science or experimental science. Nor do I think that should be the goal of high school science education. I think it's much more important to produce high school graduates that are environmentally literate and have a good sense for natural history, especially with their local communities in mind. They can learn how to be lab rats in college.

I want to be teaching about trees and glacial lakes and global warming. I want to be talking about Aldo Leopold and John Muir. I want to be outside, hiking through the woods, pointing out shelf fungus and woodpecker holes.

But since we can't always get what we want, I guess I'll try to suck it up. I'll teach about the cell and chemistry and do boring cookbook labs. But at least I'll have summers off, right?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fed Up

I walked out on a study session this afternoon. I just couldn't take the bullshit anymore. This program is so stupid. I am so sick of doing this garbage that amounts to busy work. I am not learning anything about how to be a better teacher. I am so tired of this full-of-yourself academic bullshit.

Is this just end-of-the-semester exhaustion? I don't know. But I do know that the people designing this teacher-prep program really need to pull their heads out of their asses.

There's no frickin' way I'm doing any studying tonight. I wonder how poorly I can do on the final exam and still get a B in the class.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Goal-oriented

I've submitted all papers (all three of the last before their actual due dates).

I've just burned my portfolio onto a disc.

That leaves studying for the stupid cumulative essay-format final exam. Oh what fun! I am supposed to present two of the topics from our study guide list to my study group tomorrow. Naturally, I haven't prepared anything yet, nor am I sure what one of the topics even means (not a good sign).

And really, all I want to do is decorate the tree I bought last night. It was an atypical selection on my part. I am notorious within the family for choosing Christmas trees that are more bush than tree (wider than they are tall). This one is very narrow.

Maybe if I zip through my study prep I can do a little tree trimming...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

That helps


Don't knock the cheap wine. I had a long and stressful day, but money doesn't grow on trees. If you need me, I'll be sipping wine until I fall asleep on the couch. Don't call.
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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Out of my hands

Tonight was my last regular class. I have a portfolio review and a final next week and several papers still to write. But at least classes are over.

I got my placement for next semester today. The good news is that it's in a suburban middle school, and the bad news is that means that my full-time student teaching will be in an urban high school. Yikes. I've been told that the high schools are usually less chaotic than the middle schools, and that the urban middle school I observed this semester is particularly disorganized and unpleasant. I hope that turns out to be the case because I really and truly got nothing out of the experience.

Frankly, I am disappointed with this placement and what it means for the next one, but it's out of my hands now. I'd hoped to be (and asked to be) placed on my side of town, but even that didn't pan out. I've also heard less than good things about my host teacher. Oh well, what are you going do...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Never a good sign

When the alarm clock goes off at 5:20 am and you can hear not one, not two, but three snowblowers running, it's never a good sign. When I got bundled up to take the dog out, I saw the other three nearest driveways had already been cleared. What time do these people get up?

I was able to get out of the driveway without shoveling because the plow driver must have taken pity on me. My neighbors were not so lucky. The drive in to work took almost an hour. It was also a bad sign when I saw all the school cancellations scrolling along the bottom of the TV. The city schools in particular concern me because when they close the notorious hill I had major problems with last year gets worse as the plows don't even seem to bother with it. I was able to get up the hill this morning because no one stopped mid-way.

I would, at this time, like to remind people that when driving on slippery, snow-covered roads, DO NOT STOP unless you absolutely have to. It's the worse thing you can do, especially if I am behind you. I may not be able to get moving again.

I'm already sick of winter.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Game #1

Last night I went to a Hometown University basketball game with my parents. It is something I usually do at least a couple times each year. I live close enough to them that I go over to their house so I can ride into the city with them. That gives us a chance to visit during the car ride because our seats are not in the same section. We also do a little visiting on the walk to the sports arena. Last night was a challenge to conversing, as it was hovering just below 20 degrees on the hill. That's a bit chilly for the first day in December. Walk fast, y'all! It was 13 degrees when I got back to my house.

The game itself was fine, nothing terribly exciting other than the slew of technical fouls that got tossed around. At least HU won.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Yellow Pancakes

I took a short break from my schoolwork to make pancakes and listen to Christmas music. Yummy "yellow "pancakes (a simplified version of crepes) with lots of butter and mostly eaten standing in front of the hot pan while making the next one.

Now it's back to work and back to classical music, so I won't be distracted by trying to sing along.

Yellow pancakes:
~2 eggs
~1/2 c milk
~1/2 c flour

What could be easier?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Movie Meme

I stole this idea from Andy, but I've seen quite a few less than him of these award winning movies. The ones in bold I've seen beginning to end, whereas the ones with an asterisk* I've only seen portions of. I've read the book versions of the ones in italics .


2006 The Departed

2005 Crash

2004 Million Dollar Baby

2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

2002 Chicago

2001 A Beautiful Mind

2000 Gladiator

1999 American Beauty

1998 Shakespeare in Love

1997 Titanic

1996 The English Patient

1995 Braveheart

1994 Forrest Gump

1993 Schindler's List

1992 Unforgiven

1991 Silence of the Lambs

1990 Dances with Wolves

1989 Driving Miss Daisy*

1988 Rain Man

1987 The Last Emperor

1986 Platoon

1985 Out of Africa

1984 Amadeus*

1983 Terms of Endearment

1982 Gandhi

1981 Chariots of Fire

1980 Ordinary People

1979 Kramer Vs. Kramer

1978 The Deer Hunter

1977 Annie Hall

1976 Rocky*

1975 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

1974 The Godfather Part II

1973 The Sting

1972 The Godfather

1971 The French Connection

1970 Patton

1969 Midnight Cowboy

1968 Oliver!

1967 In the Heat of the Night

1966 A Man for All Seasons

1965 The Sound of Music

1964 My Fair Lady

1963 Tom Jones

1962 Lawrence of Arabia

1961 West Side Story

1960 The Apartment

1959 Ben-Hur

1958 Gigi

1957 The Bridge on the River Kwai

1956 Around the World in 80 Days

1955 Marty

1954 On the Waterfront

1953 From Here to Eternity

1952 The Greatest Show on Earth

1951 An American in Paris

1950 All About Eve

1949 All the King's Men

1948 Hamlet

1947 Gentleman's Agreement

1946 The Best Years of Our Lives

1945 The Lost Weekend

1944 Going My Way

1943 Casablanca

1942 Mrs. Miniver

1941 How Green Was My Valley

1940 Rebecca

1939 Gone With the Wind

1938 You Can't Take It With You

1937 The Life of Emile Zola

1936 The Great Ziegfeld

1935 Mutiny on the Bounty

1934 It Happened One Night

1933 Cavalcade

1932 Grand Hotel

1931 Cimarron

1930 All Quiet on the Western Front

1929 The Broadway Melody

1928 Sunrise

1927 Wings

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Laptop

I am blogging from my shiny new laptop! Yes, you read that correctly. Santa Claus delivered me an early present today. A new toy to play with. It's particularly nice to be sitting on the couch with a blanket and still be on the internet. Not to mention that I can now do my computing in a section of the house that I regularly heat. Bonus.

What's that about schoolwork you say? Bah! I'd much rather just play...

(Thank you Santa!)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sponge

Warning: If you tend towards the squeamish (or if you're male), proceed with caution.

After reading about using sea sponges instead of tampons on one of my favorite blogs, I decided it was worth a shot. I had my reservations, of course, but so far they have all turned out to be warrantless.

I purchased Sea Sponge Tampons from GladRags, where I had previously purchased reusable cotton pads that I would also highly recommend. They are extremely comfortable, and there's no annoying string to irritate me. They couldn't be simpler to use; you merely rinse it out and put it back in. No garbage and no concerns over Toxic Shock Syndrome. Plus, they don't dry out the girl parts like regular tampons do.

As of right now, I can see no downside to them at all. I suppose for women like one of my former co-workers who was horrified and disgusted with me when I offered her an OB (it boggles my mind that you could be an adult with two children and be afraid of touching your private parts but whatever), then this product is not for you. But if you are someone that is concerned with lessening your impact on the environment or if you are economically motivated, then I would suggest replacing the tampons you normally use with the uber-comfy sponges.

Thanks for the inspiration, Riana!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Bring on the panic

I just reviewed what I have coming due for my three classes. It is a lot. We have two weeks of classes left. I have two or three more presentations, four more papers, and two portfolios. These papers are of the major variety, not one page nothing-to-worry-about papers.

One problem I'm experiencing is the incompetent teaching methods of one of my professors. Two of the papers are for his class, and he has provided very little direction. I'm barely sure of the general idea behind them. We were supposed to propose topics for one of the papers and he would give feedback. Feedback, what feedback? None for me apparently.

Lots of assignments don't cause me to buckle down, pull an all-nighter, or bust my gut working on them. I merely observe the futility of the whole thing and wonder if I can still pull off a B if I don't even bother. Sigh.

I am so overwhelmed I don't even know where to begin.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Blow Off, take 2

Don't you just love it when you're at the grocery store and you see someone that has recently blown you off, so you become very fascinated in the menu at the sub counter, knowing full well that given your luck you will run into him in another part of the store. It can't be avoided. But still it manages to irritate you that he seems not at all surprised to see you, thus implying that he saw you the first time and didn't bother to say hi (again with the blow off!). Given this knowledge you are incapable of your infamous wit and humor, and only manage to bore him until he manages to escape your clutches.

It is definitely time to retreat to your lair to watch more TV.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lunchtime Bullets

  • My discussion group went fine last night. I almost ran out of things to talk about, but I just made it to the end of my 45 minutes. By luck of the draw my group was less than responsive and pretty much non-participatory. I did a free-association-brainstorming activity with them and it was like pulling teeth. I can't believe that there are really six people on the planet that can't think of a single word in association with race or ethnicity or culture. Maybe they were giving me a taste of what it might be like to work with moody teenagers.
  • I also had a little difference of opinion with one of my group members (fortunately after I was done and in no way related to my topic) about the affect humans are having on global warming. She said none at all. Oh boy. I guess that means I should run out and buy a Hummer.
  • I managed to do a little raking this weekend (no small miracle given the activity-packed two days it was). I filled two containers and two bags. Who knows when I'll have another chance to do more. Maybe all of the leaves will blow into my neighbors' yard and save me the trouble...
  • Do I have to explain how nice it is to have no class tonight? And tomorrow night! Yay! I see hours of uninterrupted TV watching in my future.
  • I still haven't figured out what I'm doing for Thanksgiving. I've received two invitations: my step-mom's mother and a friend of a co-worker who makes an occasional appearance on a blog I read regularly. I'm torn, as I would prefer to stay home and eat a whole store-bought apple pie by myself. But seeing as how the second invite came from a friend of two people I know and like, I'm sure I would have a good time. If I were a social person, that is.
  • Somehow I accidentally bought frozen enchiladas without cheese and with excessive spice. Note to self: read packaging more carefully in future. No cheese = not worth eating.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Saturday Reflections

It's been a solitary morning as usual, but I feel it more than normal because my mother and sister are madly cooking and baking at Sis' house, while I am doing my own thing here. Tonight we shall have an early Thanksgiving dinner, and I should probably make my way over there and help with the preparations. But it's never been my thing, and I'm sure I would just get in their way and be bored out of my skull.

I caught up on my week's worth of General Hospital this morning, did two loads of laundry, added that extra blanket to the bed, and submitted several short assignments to the online learning tool we use for classes. Two of my three classes have been cancelled in advance of the upcoming holiday, but I have plenty of long-terms assignments I could be working on. Plus, I have to lead a 45 minute discussion group Monday night on how race, culture, and ethnicity affect learning. Right now, I'm a little heavy on activities and light on content. Maybe I can find some of that Sunday night?

Today is National Adoption Day, and I've been thinking about how much I want children and how I would love to bring a child into my life that needs a home. But considering how hectic my life is now, I know it would be wise to wait until after I get my degree and find a teaching job. Sometimes I get tired of waiting for all of the pieces of the puzzle to fall into place though.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

freeze yur buns

I've now seen this "freeze yur buns" campaign on two blogs I read regularly. So I'm jumping on the bandwagon to talk about what I do and what I could do better.

I have two thermostats in my house. The one that controls the temperature for the family room is set at 60 all the time. The second thermostat controls the heat for the livingroom and diningroom. That one I adjust based on my presence in the house. I keep it at 60 degrees when I'm not home, which these days is often up to 12 hours a day. When I am home I push it up to 65. Unfortunately, the thermostat is unreliable and often heats only to 63 or 64.

I turn the heat on in the bathroom only while I shower in the mornings. On cold nights I also turn the heat on in my bedroom to the lowest setting (not temperature driven). I occasionally turn the heat on in my computer room, but more often I just decided to go watch TV instead.

On sunny days I have the added bonus of the hot air pumped down from the solar panels. They can really make a difference on clear days, but in this neck of the woods those can be in short supply come wintertime. I find the sound of the solar running to be such a comfort.

I use flannel sheets and keep a mid-range goose down comforter on the bed year-round. I need to add another blanket or two so I can turn down the heat at night or not turn it on in my bedroom at all. I wear layers of clothes and keep several blankets on the couch. I have a microwavable rice bag scented with lavender. I have block-out curtains in the livingroom that are designed to reduce drafts. I need to do something about the seal on the back door where tons of cold air gets in. Last winter I piled a big couch pillow in front of it.

I could definitely lower the temps while I'm gone (58?) and while I'm in bed (62?). I will try. That's the best I can offer.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Burying my head in the sand

The more time that passes between posts, the harder it is for me to think of something to say.

I am so busy, busier now than I've been so far this semester. A lot of my bigger projects are coming due for school, and I'm training and hiring a crop of temps for the coming "busy season" at work. I can't get any work done while I'm at work, so when I get home from class at night instead of working on schoolwork, I'm working on work work. And I don't like like it. (Is that from The Wonder Years?)

Today was the last day of my suburban placement, but because of the chaotic nature of my urban placement I still have 6.5 hours left to clock there. To say that I am less than thrilled would be an understatement.

It's registration time and I don't even want to think about how I will coordinate my classes next semester with a reasonable work schedule. For now I am taking the ostrich approach and ignoring it altogether.

I'm also taking that approach with the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. If I ignore it, maybe it won't happen. So far I'm thinking it just might be me and the parade and the heck with the rest of the world. Sometimes I think being a hermit sounds like heaven.

Enough of this; I have to take out the trash.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Cold Hands

It's been so cold lately that I haven't been able to do my schoolwork in the evenings. I know that just sounds like a lame excuse, but cold temperatures prevent me from activity just as much as extreme heat does. Possibly more so. I can't force myself to sit up at my computer when I could be huddled beneath a blanket on the couch. My mouse hand usually takes the brunt of it, turning into a chunk of ice.

I have several papers to write this weekend, so I guess I'll be turning the heat on in that room and hoping for some cold-hardy endurance to develop. Yeah right.

I better buy some herbal tea.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Day in the Life

5:50am - Alarm goes off. Hit snooze.
5:57am - Alarm goes off again. Get up.
6:00am - Take dog outside. Feed dog.
6:10am - Get in shower.
7:00am - Eat breakfast.
7:25am - Leave for work.
8:05am - Pull in parking lot at work (curses, late again!).
11:30am - Leave to go to urban placement.
2:30pm - Arrive back at work. Scarf down microwavable meal for lunch.
3:30pm - Leave for class. Drive to other side of campus. Hike up hill.
4:00pm - Class begins.
6:45pm - Class ends. Stand around chatting.
7:00pm - First meeting of portfolio preparation class.
7:45pm - Portfolio class ends. Walk to car.
8:15pm - Arrive at polling place. VOTE.
8:30pm - Arrive home. Drag yard waste to curb in gale force winds and icy rain.
8:45pm - Turn on computer. Reboot after it fails to initiate.
8:50pm - Nuke white rice in a pouch, add butter and salt. Eat dinner.
9:15pm - Realize that the odds of doing any schoolwork not good.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Strike

Yoohoo, all you striking writers out there...

Please resolve your issues before my soap is affected. I can live without the rest of my shows, but I need my daily dose of General Hospital.

Say what you will, all you TV snobs, but GH makes me happy. Period. End of discussion.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Perils of Drinking too Much Coffee

I donated blood yesterday at a local Catholic church/school. I find the main downtown donation center to be extremely inconvenient in both location and hours of operation, so I jumped at the chance to go to this blood-mobile.

They've changed the procedure for testing for iron. It used to be that they would place a drop of your blood in a vile of something and observe how quickly it dropped. Now they insert a drop of blood into a small machine which calculates the iron content and spits out a number. Much less room for interpretation. I've never had a problem with iron content, so this was a fascinating new development.

Another change is that they no longer zip through the invasive questions at top speed like an expert auctioneer. Now you answer questions like "Have you had sex with a man who's had sex with a man since 1976?" by clicking through computer screens all by yourself. I could see where people might get bored and click the wrong answer. I wonder if that would make your blood unusable or if they would stop the procedure before actually drawing the blood.

When it came time for the blood-letting, I was very uncomfortable with the woman who would be taking care of me. I could think of no way to tell her that I would rather have someone else do it without offending her and potentially embarrassing myself. I heard her telling another Red Cross worker that she'd had two cups of coffee and was a little shaky. So I was not surprised when she had immediate problems with my left arm. The blood didn't flow out through the needle and into the bag. Instead it pooled beneath the skin in a visible lump. I agreed to let them try my right arm (I have very good veins in both arms, so that was not the issue). Supervisor Lady came over, rewrapped my left arm, and got me ice for it. She then started the blood draw on my right arm in a very smooth and professional fashion. However, she went on her lunch break and left the Coffee Crazy to remove the needle at the end. You'd think that would be the easy part, but she still managed to jostle it around painfully as she yammered on about something unrelated.

I headed to the canteen for my juice and cookies, reflecting on how this experience would be hard to get past with regards to wanting to donate again. If I do donate again (and I'm sure I will, just not right away) I hope I have the nerve to speak up if I am not comfortable with someone.

When I left Supervisor Lady was still having a tete-a-tete with the Coffee Crazy. My left arm is very sore and a lovely bruise is already developing.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Progress Report on Classes

I encountered day 2 of fetal pig dissections at my suburban placement yesterday. That did not make me happy. Somehow I'd managed to forget that aspect of high school biology (probably because it was not a part of the curriculum at my high school). There's something to be said for computer simulated dissections...

My group and I had our lab lesson last night. We had to plan and teach a 50 minute lesson. The professor over-booked the class time, and since we occupied the third slot, we had only 20 minutes of class left when we started. Our classmates were grumbling and not as engaged as we had hoped, but at least it's over with. I can put that behind me and worry about the mock parent-teacher conference I have tomorrow.

I was sadden to be told by the principal at one of my placements that chemistry and physics are really "where it's at" in science teaching right now. What about bio? Will I be able to find a job? I'm not sure that was the nicest thing for him to say to me, a first semester grad student. Crush the little newbie, why don't ya!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Being a grad student has its advantages.

There was a reception being held in the foyer of our building during class having something to do with grants. It was never made clear to me what the exact point of it was. Our professor kept giving us group activities and discussions while he popped down to rub elbows and munch on the food offerings.

During break, the more daring students shoved their way up to the food table and emerged with little plates full of cheese and crackers. I dispatched a classmate in search of cookies. Eventually we were all digging in.

But the best part was the open wine bar. A glass of rose definitely made for a much improved second half of class.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Little Bits of Sunday

  • I got the Halloween candy. I've only eaten one piece so far. I hope there's some left by Wednesday.
  • I need to go bring in the plants. It may frost for the first time tonight.
  • I closed all of the storm windows except one that wouldn't budge.
  • I vacuumed some of the house because the little yellow honey locust leaves are everywhere. And I mean everywhere.
  • I took the broken storm window and ripped screen to the hardware store to be repaired. I managed not to buy anything while I was there, but I did spy a coat rack that would be perfect in my newly finished entryway coming in from the garage.
  • I went to visit my stepmom afterwards as there were rumors of gifts (tea and local honey).
  • I raided her liquor cabinet and took the dregs of three bottles (at least two of which had been mine originally). Now I just have to figure out what kind of drinks I can make with them.
  • She let me sample a delicious raspberry brandy wine. I may have to get me some of that.
  • We had a very nice visit until I was leaving and the subject of Thanksgiving came up. Lordy, that surely can spoil the whole afternoon.
  • Maybe another piece of Halloween candy will help.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Just another Saturday night...

I really wish for your sake and mine that I had something inspiring (or even vaguely interesting) to write about. But I don't.

As usual, I have tons of schoolwork to do this weekend. And yet I spent remarkably little time actually doing any of it. I did, however, clean the tops and fronts of the washer and dryer. Even my extreme levels of avoidance don't extend to the backs of large appliances.

Tomorrow I may tackle closing the storm windows. And I still need to shop for Halloween candy. Oh, the life I lead...

Friday, October 26, 2007

You must be kidding.

All you homeowners out there, feel free to nod along knowingly.

FF discovered recently that there are water spots on the ceiling in the catroom (obviously a room I attempt to avoid like the plague, therefore not having much opportunity to spy on the ceiling). You may remember that my father had a new roof put on the house before I bought it. That's right, folks, the roof is just over a year old and it's leaking.

I promptly phoned the roofer, who I've never met nor spoken to, only to have him inform me that he's gone "out of business." Curses. If I weren't so dreadfully exhausted I might be freaking out.

Just now while attempting to hunt down a piece of mail I'd thought I'd left on the kitchen table (it turns out it was on the coffee table, which is odd because I never put mail there), I flipped on the dining room light switch. Flash! And dark. I turned off the switch and tried again. Flash! And dark. Because I clearly was at a loss for what else I might do, I tried several more times, with the exact same result. I don't get it.

Seriously though, is this the kind of shit I can expect on a daily basis as a homeowner? Can't I have a day or two in a row without something breaking or going wrong? Whoever put this curse on me, what do I need to do to lift it?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Return of the Chemistry Cramp

The other night I woke from sleeping on the couch to clutch madly at my left calf muscle. It was cramping something fierce. The first time I'd experienced this phenomenon was my freshman year of college, while taking general chem. I hated that class with a passion. The only thing I learned was to never, ever take a lab at 8 o'clock in the morning. Throughout that semester I would wake screaming and clutching at my left calf. Fortunately my roommate was a heavy sleeper, just about her only redeeming characteristic.

Several years later, at a different college, in a different state, I took a second semester of general chem, and the cramp returned in the same spot. And again when I took organic chem.

Well, I'm not taking chemistry right now, thank god. That would probably push me over the edge. But I think the return of the cramp may be related to the second topic I'd like to address in this post. I'd thought to include it in the title, but that became cumbersome. I'm referring to my emerging "theory" of teacher prep programs. (I put it in quotes because it's not evolution or gravity, after all. But it is based on observations.)

Teacher prep programs suck. They suck big time. We're less than two months into our program and we're already horribly disillusioned and just sick of it all. We're not being taught anything that appears to relate to life or the real world. We do group project after group project with the same few people until we can't stand the sight of one another. Most of the assignments feel like busy work.

So here's my theory: Teacher prep programs are designed to suck so that they separate out the few people that can put up with this shit because chances are they will be able to put up with the shit that they have to deal with as teachers.

Maybe I was just crazy thinking I would actually learn something.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Stuck Inside on a Beautiful Day

I've gotten my most important schoolwork completed. That certainly doesn't mean all of it but enough where if I could I would be outside enjoying this gorgeous sunny day. But alas, that is apparently not to be.

The painters showed up just before noon and are planning to finish the job today. My car is blocked in and the doors must be left open to dry so I won't be going anywhere anytime soon. I am sad to miss such a lovely day of course, but I am also anxious for them to finish. When they are done, the whole project will be complete. I look forward to having my house all to myself again.

Contractor has not returned the key yet because of a cat-related situation that I've asked for his help with. The hateful beasts have pulled the brand new carpet loose from around the brand new tile floor. If I can't get it fixed and prevent it from occurring again, they could unravel pieces that run the full length of the room. Have I mentioned recently how much I hate cats? If I didn't have so many other things to worry about this would probably be causing me to freak out.

Does anyone want a very loving, litter boxed trained black and white cow kitty?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Spots

No, I am not referring to the paint job. That actually looks pretty good.

The spots I'm talking about are on my throat. I drank three cups of Throat Coat tea at work today as I talked my way through six interviews. Don't you wish you were shaking my hand? Ha! All that talking did nothing to help ease the discomfort.

And tomorrow... three more interviews and an exam on child health and safety. I think I'd better go lie down.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Evil Darkness

The painter started spraying the aluminum siding on my house today. I hate picking paint colors with a passion, so I picked the one that seemed to me to be the closest to the current color. (I know, you are wondering why I'm bothering to spend all this money to have it painted. Well, I'm wondering the same damn thing.)

As I was driving home from class, FF called and said "I see you decided to go with a lighter color." Uh oh. I specifically told the painter that I wanted it to be essentially the same color. Perhaps he misunderstood? English is, after all, not his first language and I have difficulties with his heavy accent. Perhaps he doesn't care for mine either.

What's really killing me is that it's dark by the time I get home from class, so I can't see the damn siding. I have to wait until morning!

I'm already so super stressed with school and work that I had the most elaborate and looong chase dream last night. It was scary and awful and kept going and going even when I would wake up and go back to sleep. Now I have the added anxiety of a paint color that I may hate and will have to live with for decades to come.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Little Things

I was supposed to have written about the environment yesterday, but between work, classroom observations, class, and schoolwork I wasn't able to find the time. That doesn't mean that it isn't a topic that I think about on a daily basis.

One of the goals I have with becoming a high school biology teacher is that hopefully I will have the chance to help kids learn to enjoy science. I think that is sometimes the beginning of learning to care for the environment. In my ninth grade biology class we did "Seton Spots," where each student had to pick a location in nature to spend a series of visits sitting and observing their surrondings. I loved and still love the opportunity to do just that. I hope that my enthusiasm and dedication will be contagious.

As for the little things I referred to in the post title, I thought I'd mention some of the things I do (both consciously and subconsciously) to keep my carbon footprint down. Sometimes all it takes is hearing someone say what they do and why for the lightbulb to go off in your own head. It's easy to overlook the obvious. There are lots more things I could be doing or could be doing better, so I'm always on the look-out for inspiration. Got ideas? By all means share them!

  • I am passionate about recycling. The county I live in does well with recycling. It kills me that in this day and age recycling isn't mandatory. When I lived in Florida, no one recylced. But even here many people still don't understand what is and what is not recyclable. Toilet seat? NO!
  • I try to avoid buying things that are bottled in containers that are not recyclable (numbers other than 1 or 2).
  • I only run the dishwasher and washing machine when I have full loads.
  • I wash most of my clothes with cold water.
  • I often have only one bulb lit in the whole house (living room).
  • I use as many of the energy saving light bulbs as possible.
  • I wear many of my clothes more than once (especially pants and sweatshirts) between washes.
  • I donate my old clothes, shoes, and what-have-yous instead of just throwing them in the trash.
  • I love the Farmer's Market and support the idea of buying local (this I could improve on!).
  • I return all of my bottles and cans and support the idea of an expanded bottle bill for non-carbonated beverage containers.

I'm sure I've forgotten many of things that I meant to mention, but perhaps they will come to me and I can add them later.

One of the many things that I do that bothers me is the length of my commute. Due to the nature of my job and my schooling, carpooling is not an option, nor is mass transit. I can only hope and pray that after graduation I can find a job that is closer to where I live.

I would also like to start composting at some point once I get settled into my new house and figure out the best way to do it for my yard and my neighborhood.

I believe that protecting our environment is not just something good to do, it is the right thing to do. And I feel very strongly about right versus wrong.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bullets of Procrastination

  • I spent all day yesterday on the couch watching TV. I still feel slightly stuffed up and very sniffley. I hope it doesn't develop into something much worse.
  • Obviously, I didn't do any schoolwork yesterday. That leaves today. Oy.
  • The sub-contractor my contractor lined up to do the exterior work has bailed on him, so he is here today trying to get the work done himself. He'd already moved on to another job in another town because he'd finished his end of the work. Or so he thought. Needless to say, the banging is a little distracting.
  • Even though it's mostly cloudy, the solar has been running occasionally, helping to bring the internal temperature up a few degrees from the rather chilly start of 61.
  • I took a break earlier and vacuumed the entire house. It's a little odd when vacuuming becomes a form of procrastination and not something that you procrastinate to avoid doing.
  • I've gotten it in my head that I may need reading glasses. I'm thinking a run to a store might be in order to try on some of those over-the-counter glasses. That doesn't sound like procrastination, does it?
  • Fine, I'll go back to reading that fascinating article on reform in undergraduate science classrooms.
  • Right after I eat some Nutella.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Chicken Soup Please

I'm afraid I may be coming down with something. My eyeballs are hot and dry. My chest aches. There seems to be some extra phlegm.

I don't care if it's just an old wives' tale; I can't help but think that getting soaked to the skin twice in one week hasn't helped.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Murphy's Law

Things that you don't want to happen when your best friend from Colorado is visiting for one afternoon:
  • steady, heavy rain - I'd been hoping to go to Pretty Color Lake or Small Glacier Lake for a nice walk. We settled for wandering around campus and the cemetery in the rain (which turned out to be rather nice after all).
  • having to run to the bathroom multiple times while on campus - "Uh, why don't you wait here in the hall while I pop into the bathroom. Again." Not fun.
  • two huge zits - Since I went back on the pill in March my skin has been much improved. I'm blaming the oral presentation I had to give in class on Monday night for the eruption of these two monstrosities. Needless to say, between the rain and the zits, not so many photos were taken.

You know your friendship rocks when none of this matters though, as long as you're together.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Desktop Meme

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Mary tagged me for this meme. Not only is it fun, but I learned something too. I'd never used the print screen function before! The photo I use as my background was taken by BerryBird. Isn't it gorgeous? I only use two or three of my icons.
Tagging: NSLS, Electronic Goose, Marni, Beth, and DancingFish. And anyone else who wants to play...

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Study Break



Who could resist taking a walk on a beautiful day like this? Not me!

I usually prefer leaving the road to hike through fields or woods, but since I could hear gunfire I elected to remain on the road. Even though some trees were completely bare, there is still little color to speak of.
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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Bullets of Bad Mood

  • My lawn desperately needed to be mowed so I thought I was being productive by getting that taken care of early in the day. Unfortunately, although I got the lawn mowed, I've been unable to do any schoolwork at all on account of the post-mowing head congestion.
  • Because of that I am in miserable mood. I keep wondering why I am doing this to myself, and how I am possibly going to get through all of it. Most days I feel increasingly stupid and incompetent.
  • The interior portion of my construction project is essentially done. I spent hours last night vacuuming the newly installed carpet and cleaning the new bathroom. Today I hit Target for some essentials, like a trash can and bath mat.
  • I have a classmate who is constantly pursuing me, which is doing nothing to ease my stress levels. I haven't the time, energy, or interest to be bothered.
  • In fact, I can't be bothered with much these days.
  • All I really want to do is watch TV and sleep.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Highs and Lows

I went to my suburban placement today, which I love. The more time I spend there, the more sure I am of this decision. The teachers and administrators are extremely welcoming and encouraging. The students are, well, teenagers. In my two sessions there I've already had the chance to observe three teachers and three different levels of biology. It's fascinating and a thoroughly inviting atmosphere.

In class tonight we had a guest lecturer in to talk about assessment. He was so condescending and offensive that I wasn't able to get past that to take away anything of value from the two and half hours he lectured at us, yelled at us, and implied we're all a bunch of idiots. I wanted to throw something at him and walk out. He, all by himself, made me not want to be a teacher at all. What a pompous asshole.

I think I'll go drink my Woodchuck, watch some TV, and try hard to not let him sour my great experience this morning.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Email Question

When I receive an email from a friend or otherwise I try hard to answer all questions and pose additional ones if relevant. It seems as though this is not the common practice. My friends often ignore my questions altogether. Should I assume that the topic doesn't interest them or that they simply can't be bothered? Or is this technique normal, and I'm actually the odd man out with my behavior?

Monday, October 01, 2007

A Case of the Mondays

Apparently I wore my teacher clothes for no good reason today. When I got to my first classroom today the lights were off and the door was locked. I went back to the main office where I was informed that the 8th graders had gone on a field trip.

Fantastic. Now I will have to take time off work to make up these missed hours. I will also have next Monday's hours to make up on account of Columbus Day.

It would've been nice had someone mentioned the field trip when I was there last week. Surely these things are not so spur of the moment that a little warning would've been impossible.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bad Student

I've been a bad student this week. Remember my plan of doing school work on Thursday and Friday evenings and during the day over the weekend? Well, that didn't happen this week. I had a lighter than normal load of assigned readings, so instead of looking ahead to work that will be due soon, I did nothing at all until today.

I've been watching TV and vegging like I used to be able to do back in the good old days before I started this master's program. But this morning I got down to business and did everything that I can do. One of my readings is a pdf that we're supposed to access online, but it's not working (only showing two of the 15 or so pages). Another one the professor never sent the link for (I swear I heard him say twice that he'd email it to us).

So now bad student that I am, I think I'll take Mr. Dog for a walk.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Stuart Smalley Again

A while back BerryBird tagged me for the Stuart Smalley meme. It is like many of the other list memes going around except for one little twist: this list of ten things has to be ten things you like about yourself. This is quite a challenge, especially if you are feeling a little poopy. I have elected to do it in installments, since I haven't found much inspiration yet. So without further ado... I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!

Ten Things I like About Myself, Installment 2:

3. That I like to walk. I'm so glad that I enjoy walking. I never have to waste time shopping for parking spaces. I watched out my office window the other day as one of my co-workers moved her car to be two spots closer to the door. That's not me. And I don't have to pay to join a gym; I can exercise anywhere, anytime.

4. My fondness for dogs. Dogs make me happy. I like to see them and have them around. I may not always want to hug and frolic with them, but that doesn't mean I don't like them. They are so charming and loyal. I think you can tell a lot about a person from how they treat their pets.

Stay tuned for another installment...

Is there anybody out there?

The Great Mofo Delurk 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thursday Morning Bullets

  • Mr. Dog finally had a normal bowel movement last night. Yay! I never thought I'd be so happy about poop.
  • Placement #2 went much better than #1. Not only were they expecting me, but they were very welcoming as well. I'm excited about the selection of classes I'll have the opportunity to observe.
  • Since I know you're all dying for an update on the construction project: Contractor has installed and painted all trim and hung the two new doors (closet and basement). He has closed in the backs of both sets of stairs and put in the new window (which actually locks- good for one's peace of mind). The shower walls are up and the vanity is in place. I think that about covers it.
  • This heat needs to Go. Away. It's impacting my much-needed sleep. Plus, it's almost October. Enough already.
  • I'm expecting to get sick at any moment. We've been warned that since our bodies are not used to the normal onslaught of germs in the school system that the new student teachers/observers often come down with something when they first start. Yippee.
  • My dinner last night consisted of four cookies and a small granola bar. That should help keep me healthy, right?
  • I think I'll go make some herbal tea.

Monday, September 24, 2007

First Day of School

Thanks for all your kind thoughts and well-wishes for my small dog. The situation has improved, but remains slightly uncertain. He is definitely feeling more like himself, and I feel certain he is on the mend. Substitute Vet said that it normally takes three to four days for the cells of the intestines to turn over, so the timeline fits that he would be feeling better if there had been some sort of "damage" done on Friday afternoon.

As I worried about him, I had to report to my first placement for classroom observation. It was chaotic to say the least. I won't go into details, but I will say that I was not all that impressed with how things were handled. I really hope Wednesday goes more smoothly at the other school.

In two of the three classrooms I was in today the clock was non-functioning, so the first thing I did after I got home tonight was to find my watch and race to the mall to have a new battery installed. Not knowing the current time is practically freak-out status for me. It's like when you're trying to get a tight shirt or sweater off and you get tangled up and can't get free and aahhhh... Or am I the only one that freaks out in that situation?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Poop Status, etc.

Upon waking to find more poop in the crate this morning and a complete lack of improvement in condition of the poor doggy, I determined a trip to the emergency vet was in order. I consulted with the parental unit first and learned through them that our regular vet is out of town so waiting a day wouldn't have gotten me anywhere. Apparently they had also just paid a visit to the emergency vet on account of an injury to their dog's back (he seemed fine when I saw him yesterday, odd).

I was concerned about a potential blockage because Mr. Dog will eat anything small enough to fit in his mouth. He also appeared lethargic and "depressed" this morning (who wouldn't with all that pottying going on?). So off we went to wait and wait and wait.

The vet wasn't able to provide a diagnosis, but she didn't seem concerned about an obstruction. She prescribed an antibiotic and some bland canned food. So far I've seen no improvement. I suppose it's too soon to tell, but I'm afraid I may have wasted all that money for naught. Please cure the pup!

With all that excitement and stress I managed to write a fairly lousy paper that I submitted to the web-based-learning-tool late this afternoon. Then I promptly started reading the chapter on which I had to write another short paper. When I finished the first draft of that I decided I had earned a walk and set out in my neighborhood. I left Mr. Dog at home because of his delicate condition, and I felt practically naked without him.

I meant to come right home and crack open the next book, but somehow I ended up with a Woodchuck in my hand instead. It really hits the spot after the past few days.

Friday, September 21, 2007

From Bad to Worse

Remember the foul mood from early? I do, fondly even.

I'm past being in a bad mood. I'm beat. I'm done. Uncle! I give.

I knew there was a major problem the second I opened the door. A poop problem to be precise. Dog Number #1 had a blow-out in the kennel of catastrophic proportions. He is not a dog that has accidents. Ever. Under normal circumstances he'd have pee squirting out his ears before he'd mess in his kennel or the house. I can only presume that a) he's ill or b) he was that upset by having Contractor be in the house all day. Either way I'm not risking feeding him any dinner.

There was poop on the wall after all. That's right, the wall.

So dog outside, kennel outside, scrub floor and wall. Call FF to beg him to bring me some air freshener (not something I usually use). Bathe dog with hose and some of FF's shampoo. Halfway through bath realize I've probably just washed off all of the super expensive anti-flea meds. Curse. Hose off kennel. Water plants while dog shakes off some of his excess water. Bring dog and kennel inside because it's getting dark. Now house smells of wet dog instead of poop. Only marginally better.

Now it's 8pm and I've done no school work. I ate the same thing for dinner that I had for lunch. And the last thing I feel like doing is reading about educational methods and practices. Gag.

And to top it all off, Contractor informed me that the holes on the vanity I bought don't match the faucet I picked out, and that I'll have to return one of them. Can you guess how thrilled I was to hear that?

Since FF is no longer obligated to listen to me blow off steam and made a hasty get-away, you get to enjoy the tirade. Aren't you lucky!

Foul Mood

I am in a foul mood. Just thought you all would like to know.

  1. I hate H0me Dep0t. I will not be going back there. If that means having bare bulbs dangling from the ceiling because I refuse to return to pick out light fixtures, so be it. Isn't that what I'm paying Contractor all of this frickin' money for? So I don't have to frickin' load a solid surface vanity top into my car BY MYSELF. Thank you to the stranger in the parking lot who helped (as opposed to the store employees who did not).
  2. Now my back hurts from unloading the fool thing into my garage.
  3. I got no school work done last night on account of the baloney with H0me Dep0t.
  4. I was so angry and upset I couldn't fall asleep.
  5. I would like to say nasty things to Contractor right about now, but I don't see where that will help in the long run. Plus, he can't know that things he does on a daily basis are tantamount to hell for me. I suppose.
  6. I so don't want to be at work today.
  7. And I so don't want to do that stinkin' birthday party tomorrow.

I hope y'all are feeling more cheerful on this lovely Friday morning.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bullets of Too Busy For Anthing Else

  • Before I knew I was starting my master's program this semester I agreed to lead a birthday party Saturday. Now I am kicking myself. The small fee I get paid is not worth the added stress and the loss four hours of prime studying time. I have two papers to do over the weekend. I wish there was some way I could get out of doing the party, but there isn't. At least the weather should be pleasant and warm.
  • My new girly doctor seems very nice. English is clearly not her first language, but she is much easier to understand than my last one. I think I talked to her more today than I ever did with my former girly doctor who I saw for years. Now I'm just hoping all goes well and I don't have to go back for 12 months. What a joy that would be. And a novelty.
  • This has been one of those weeks when being management ain't all that much fun. It's a lot like babysitting. How old are these people anyway?!
  • Contractor finally returned this morning after a nearly 3 week hiatus. He's more or less insisting that I go to H0me Dep0t tonight to pick out the vanity top for the new bathroom. I feel like telling him I'll get to it in a week or two.
  • FF had gotten me six tiny pumpkins to line my front steps with. This morning I discovered one had been all but devoured by the rat-bastard squirrels. Two more were no longer pristine. I brought the remaining three inside to protect them. Between neighborhood youth and evil rodents, how can I enjoy my festive pumpkins?
  • I still haven't watched the season premiere of Prison Break, which I love. All of the other shows start next week. Thank goodness I have a DVR. I don't know how I'll keep up with both my homework and my TV!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fleas Be Gone!

FF's father has an indoor-outdoor cat that apparently brings fleas in and passes them to Little White Dog. Then FF brings Little White Dog over to my house while he's at work and now the fleas can get to my dog and the two cats. Ugh.

So last night we had an all-out assault, even though there's been no evidence of the nastiness on the animals that reside with me. Let's not take chances though. So all furry beasts had liquid meds applied to their neck-backs. The disconcerting part is that my vet only dispenses the kind for dogs that is fatal to cats. My poor pup is stuck spending 24 hours locked up because the cats will destroy any room if the door closes. He doesn't mind because he's getting extra treats, but I feel bad.

Of course, I would feel worse if he got fleas.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Of things to come...

  • I ran the solar yesterday to take the edge off the chill in the house.
  • I could see my breath this morning when I took the dog out.
  • I had to wear a fleece to work.
  • I had to turn the heat on in the car for my drive in this morning.
  • And soup sounds delightful again.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Splat!

After reading yet another article and writing a short "reaction" paper about it, I decided I'd better get out of the house for a while this afternoon.

Old Phish Friend, who I haven't seen since we had dinner at the end of April, was playing in a paintball tournament at Polluted Lake Park. His team had played and won two games yesterday and their final game of the season was today. I was curious, knowing nothing about how this semi-professional sport was played. And besides, if it was a bust, I could always go for a walk and head home.

I got there several minutes before the game started and sidled up to the field. I couldn't tell which team was our Hometown team, let alone which of the masked individuals was OPF. I finally asked a nice looking older couple if they knew the players (their rooting and cheering had lead me to believe they were one of our player's parents). They told me how to identify OPF by the color of his mask and that they'd let me know when he came on the field. After the first half they brought me down to the other end of the field since the teams switch sides. I'd have been completely lost without their guidance.

It was unexpectedly fun. The points were short, the action was exciting. The only disappointment was that OPF played less than half of the points. I hadn't expected that the team would be so big. Nor had I expected to see women playing too, but there was at least one on the Hometown team.

Unfortunately our Hometown team lost. When it was over, I went for a walk along the lake and enjoyed seeing all the dogs taking their owners for walks.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Remember the Carrot!

I was just about to take a break from my assigned readings and go for a short walk when the rain started again. I could go out in it, but it's in the 50s and I'm not anxious for the chill. My goal of two walks per week has fallen by the wayside with all that I have to do for classes.

I've gotten through two articles and one chapter so far. I would feel better about it if I felt I was learning something. If I'm not careful I can find myself reading whole pages without ever really seeing a single word. And even if I do pay attention to what I'm reading, when I read too much it all just blurs together and loses its potency.

In case any of you are thinking taking classes would be fun, let me set you straight. It's not. It's hard work. It's frustrating to have no free time. If I'm awake I'm working, in class, doing classwork, or feeling guilty about not doing classwork. There's no more relaxing in front of Law & Order.

There is an ultimate goal though. Carrot, guide me!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mowing vs. Reading

Since I already chose to mow the lawn instead of do my reading after work tonight, I might as well compound the problem with a little blogging. At least my lawn looks better now. I can't even remember when I mowed last. It's been so horrendously dry that the grass hasn't grown at all.

Not mowing has been kind of nice actually. My head is now echoing from the noise and my nose is entirely snuffed up. Joy. But lest you think I am complaining, let me be clear. I would rather mow twice a week than have to shovel snow. Ever.

The panic over my assigned readings is starting to mount though. If possible, I think I have more than last week. I have this idea that I can do all of my school work Thursday and Friday evenings and during the day on Saturday and Sunday. That way I wouldn't have to crack the books on the nights I have class (Monday through Wednesday). If I don't get my act together, that will end up being some sort of pipe dream.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Office Goodies

I love it when people bring in goodies to share with the office. I was particularly enamoured with today's yummy dessert, and it sounds very simple.

Take two of the tubes of refrigerated sugar cookie dough and spread them out on a cookie sheet in a bar-like fashion. Cook for 10-11 minutes. Let cool. Spread with store-bought buttercream frosting and dot with fresh blueberries and raspberries.

Enjoy!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Taking Notes

What's up with people not taking notes?

When I was last a full-time student, lecture meant that it was time to scribble madly as you attempted to get everything important down on paper. Occasionally, a professor would put his or her lecture notes on reserve in the library. I don't think I ever had reason to access them.

These days, almost no one takes notes. At all. And why should they since the professors put all their PowerPoint presentations on web-based blackboards. Or then there's Dr. Drone, who actually hands out the printed versions of his PowerPoints before he even launches the lecture.

I feel like my time is being wasted. It makes me uneasy. I want to write down facts and figures. Plus, I feel like these people are a tad lazy. Write, damn you! Write madly! You'll need those notes. This is your one chance to get them down! Oh wait, never mind, that's just not true anymore...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Feeling Overwhelmed

Classes have only just begun, and already the assignments are piling up.

One professor in particular behaves as though we are all taking his class and only his class. Four reading assignments and a short paper are due for his Wednesday class. And you'd think that if you are teaching how to be a good teacher that you would be a good teacher yourself. Not so! He drones on and on, with no apparent direction or point. So far, he hasn't exhibited a single thing I'd want to see myself doing in front of a classroom.

I am not a night person at all, so it's hard to get much reading done by the time I get home form work and take care of the animals and dinner. I'm lucky if I'm managing an hour before I start nodding off.

Work is picking up too, so I haven't even been taking anything that resembles a lunch break in which I might read.

And then there's the dying hot water heater and leaking dehumidifier, which are obviously contributing to my increased stress level.

So I can't promise regular posting, unless I am procrastinating (like now) or I suddenly learn better time management skills. Ha!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Held Hostage by Doctors

  1. I ordered contact lenses on-line the other day. Yesterday I received a phone call from the company that my eye doctor won't give permission for the entire order to be filled. He'll only release my prescription for six months, which means I lose all of the discounts and rebates. Now that I'm ticked off, I continued with the purchase of six months worth because that will give me enough time to find a new frickin' eye doctor.
  2. When I picked up my monthly packet of pills, I noticed the phrase "no refills" screaming at me from the label. I was last at the girly doctor on March 1st for a complete round of tests, as I'm sure I mentioned on this very blog. So I call the office and discover my doctor has put a hold on the prescription because she wants me in for a follow-up pap. Hello? Ever heard of a phone? Said doctor has also relocated to an office on the other side of town. Since that ain't going happen, I have an appointment with one of the other female doctors at my office. I just hope her English language skills are better than the now former doctor's.

The doctors of the world are on my shit list today.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The early bird gets the worm.

Or, in this case, the textbook.

Don't you know when I dash into the bookstore on my way to class to pick up the book from which I have a reading due for tomorrow, they are sold out.

Helpful Clerk: "Uh, I guess there must be more people in the class than he expected."

Me: Some sort of sneer that doesn't cross the line into unfriendly.

HC: "I can order you a copy, but it might not get here until Friday. Is that OK?"

Me: "Well, that's better than no day." I like to revert to sarcasm occasionally. Now it was his turn to make suspicious facial expressions.

Fortunately there are advantages to being an older and more experienced grad student. When I got to tonight's class it was less than a minute before I had a virtual stranger lend me his copy. As an undergrad in a classroom of people I didn't know, I never would have been so daring.

And now I must go read my borrowed book.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Summer's End

Shortly I will be leaving to go to the Fair for the fourth time this year. Today is the last day of the twelve day run and also the unofficial last day of summer.

Having seen the seven day forecast, I know that the summer weather isn't quite gone yet. Low to mid-90s are expected by the end of the week, just in time for the kids to go back to school.

Working in academia, the fall semester has already began, so in some ways the summer has been over for a week already. The first week of classes is done, the syllabus are in hand, textbooks are purchased. Unless you are like me, and don't have a single textbook yet, and one of your professors was out of town at a conference so class has yet to commence.

I've always loved the excitement of back to school. The new clothes, the school supplies, seeing people you haven't seen in months. RussianViolets put it very eloquently, and so I won't try to put it in other words. I've missed the excitement since I graduated, but now there's a different kind of thrill knowing that I might have a classroom of my own in a couple years.

It's too soon to say. Maybe I'll hate teaching. Maybe I'll flunk out of grad school. But I sure as hell am going try to do as well as I can.

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Score So Far

The inconsiderate contractors have destroyed:
  1. two ferns transplanted from my grandmother's house
  2. one clump of variegated gout weed transplanted from my grandmother's house
  3. one lily I bought at the farmer's market (maybe the bulb will survive?)

The inconsiderate contractors have trampled:

  1. the coral bells transplanted from my grandmother's house
  2. two small hostas
  3. the foxglove from the farmer's market
  4. the Solomon seal's

And they aren't done yet.

There also seems to be fewer of the prescription Ibuprofen 800s that I left on the counter (not knowing my home was to be invaded). Perhaps I'm just paranoid. Or perhaps not.

House-Related Bullets

  • My fifth grade teacher walked by with his wife the other evening when I was outside doing yard work. It strikes me as sort of surreal that something like that can occur at all. It seems atypical of America today that I now own the home I lived in as a child.
  • I have finished the majority of the poison ivy removal from the "garden" in the front yard. I also removed said garden and have sown grass seed throughout most of it. I will put down seed in the last section tonight after I attempt to do some leveling with the rake. Little bits of PI keep poking back up, but that's to be expected.
  • My contractor has returned. In fact, apparently he was at the house twice last week and I just couldn't tell.
  • He texturized the ceiling and primed the walls. Today he is starting to lay the tile floor.
  • I felt bad because he picked up the wrong tile, and then had to return it. I had written Milano Walnut, and he picked up Milano Almond. Not the same thing.
  • He also reframed my garage door, so that if H0me Dep0t ever gets their act together, everything will be all set for the installation of the new door and opener.
  • FF just called and informed me that there are five guys at my house right now working both inside and out. And that one of them "blew the place up." Fantastic, it's not a frickin' port-a-potty, folks. Stay out of my bathroom!
  • I can't wait until this is all finished and I can revert to my hermit style. I don't like people in my space.
  • I don't even want to think about how my poor plants are faring. Hopefully, they can survive if they get trampled.
  • I like and trust the contractor doing the inside work. The outside people, I know nothing about them. I can only hope he keeps an eye on them.
  • Sigh.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Also

I didn't do any walking. So for the first time since I set my goal of two walks per weekend, I didn't meet that goal.

But I did just devour a huge piece of office cake. That makes it OK, right?

Well, my weekend sucked. How was yours?

Saturday was maddeningly hot. And the humidity was gross, just gross. I spent all day laying on the couch sweating and feeling sorry for myself.

Sunday dawned cooler and delightfully grey. But naturally, I had to work. All day.

By the time I left work, I was feeling irritable and all I wanted to do was relax with my family over dinner.

But that was not to be. They were feeling argumentative. And then as the evening drew to a close, I was forced to take another trunk load of my old crap. It is mine, and I understand it should be my responsibility to deal with it. But the timing frickin' sucks. I have no room for anything, what with the inactive construction project. Plus, it was going on 9:30 at night, I'd worked all day, and I had to work in the morning. I wasn't anxious to have to spend time unloading my car and finding space to stack more boxes.

And my parents wonder why we don't visit more often? Whatev.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Dancing

First of all, let me just say that music does not play as big a role in my life as it does in Beth's. That said, when offered free tickets to see a rock legend, I'm not about to turn them down.

I went with low expectations, but found that I had a much better time than I'd hoped. I knew more of the songs and enjoyed the crowd for the most part.

There was this charming young man at the end of our row that was positively ecstatic to be there. He was on his feet, dancing and jumping around. I found him charming and highly entertaining (in a friendly way, unlike the frat boys in front of me that were ridiculing him). After several songs, a STAFF member came along and told him if he didn't sit down, he'd have to leave.

WTF? When I used to go to shows back in the day, everyone stood and/or danced. And now, apparently it's not allowed? So Dancing Boy and his party of three climbed up to the top of the grandstand so they could dance without bothering anyone.

Later on in the concert, the band brought out several servicemen to pay tribute to our troops. Of course that prompted everyone in the whole place to their feet, cheering and clapping. Because everyone remained on their feet for the duration of that song, Dancing boy et al came back down to our row and were welcomed with back slaps and high fives. When the rows in front of us sat back down, I remained standing as did the guys near me. There was no way I was letting Dancing Boy be forced back into the nose bleeds or to be kicked out.

Towards the end of the show, the band played the song I was hoping to hear and I did a little dancing myself. I can't even recall the last time I danced.

I'm glad I went, and I'm glad I was lucky enough to have seats near Dancing Boy, whose enthusiasm was definitely contagious.

Friday, August 24, 2007

It's a coffee morning.

And I rarely have those, since I try to avoid coffee unless absolutely necessary. I'm a tea drinker, but even after my starter mug of English breakfast (with milk and sugar!) I'm still dragging.

Five and a half hours of sleep is not nearly enough to put me at a functioning level. Not that the coffee will make me function well; it will just make me jittery and nauseous while still being exhausted.

But at least my combination of coffee, creamer, and a packet of hot cocoa with marshmallows tastes pretty good.

Hopefully, there will be details to follow on why I didn't get enough sleep last night. Hint: Freebird!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Is it any wonder?

It's 71 degrees in my house. I'm wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt. And I'm cuddled under a blanket to watch Law & Order.

No wonder I feel like dying when it's 56 degrees inside.

But the 90s shall return in another day or two.

Monday, August 20, 2007

No Cake For You

I had two birthday parties yesterday. For those of you who don't know, I freelance as a naturalist at Second Home Nature Center, leading nature-themed birthday parties. I usually limit myself to one per weekend. Yesterday I agreed to do the second because it sounded like I was needed and because I'm feeling the need to possibly take advantage of all opportunities to make a little extra money.

The parties are an irregular income at best. For much of the year I am often not needed, as there are interns on staff to cover the workload. But when there aren't interns available they will call me.

The two parties yesterday were "pond dipping." That means that we hiked out to a pond and used small nets to look for tiny creatures. The kids usually get the most excited over frogs, but I try to show them that the smaller animals and insects are just as interesting. Yesterday we caught crayfish, tadpoles, dragonfly larvae, water boatmen, and tons of fingernail clams. And of course, the obligatory frog.

(I just realized as I was typing this that I completely forgot to put away the pond-dipping supplies. I'd left them outside to dry in the sun. Crap. I'm so stressed that I'm not even thinking straight.)

But at least both parties were a success and everyone seemed pleased. Except the one mom that was insulted when I suggested I thought the frog was actually a bullfrog, not a leopard frog. Aside from her, all went well.

Still no cake though. Can't anyone spare a piece of cake for the nice naturalist?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bullets of Whining

  • If I had wine in the house, I'd be drinking it right now. I'm just saying.
  • BerryBird, remind me of that when we're at the Farmer's Market. Local wine, bonus. I also want to buy more eggs. Remind me of that too.
  • Where is this cold front I was promised? And the rain? 'Cause I'm sitting here sweating, and I didn't water any of my plants/flowers/grass seed.
  • I would like to be sleeping on the couch right now, but I can't do that until the dishwasher is done because I will need to turn off the water (yes, it's one of the roll-up-and-plug-in kind).
  • I finally decided to run the dishwasher, not because of the dirty dishes piled in the sink (and on the counter), but because of the funky odor emanating from my water bottle.
  • The dishwasher, it doesn't help cool the house down. Not in the least.
  • But the dirty dishes on the counter may distract the ants from exploring the salt shaker.
  • Is that enough whining or shall I go on?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Why it's good to have clear salt shakers:

So that when you are leaning over the sink, shaking salt on your freshly hard-boiled local egg from the farmers market, you will be able to see the dead ant before you shake the salt on said egg.

Or as in my case, after eating an egg and a half you bother to investigate that darkish spot you've been seeing out of the corner of your eye each time you tip the shaker.

Oh well, finish your egg. They were the best tasting hard-boiled eggs you've ever had, and you can't let them go to waste.

After all, a dead ant in the salt is nowhere near as traumatic as an earwig in the mouthwash. That you may never recover from.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

So much for fashion

I've decided that from now on I will only buy pants (or skirts, shorts, what-have-you) that have elastic waist bands. Heck, I'm over thirty and a generation ago that would've been tantamount to being over-the-hill, so I might as well be comfortable. I would live in J-Lo-esque velour track pants if I could. And big t-shirts. And flip-flops.

OK, so I'm kidding about restricting my purchases, but seriously, why can't real clothes be more comfortable? Isn't it bad enough that I have to go to work at all, why make it worse with torturous pants that dig into my gut? Who's behind this madness?

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Cow Kitty



I know, you're thinking that for someone who doesn't like cats, she sure posts a lot of darn pictures of them. Anywho, Cat Named After a State in New England spent hours sleeping in this spot today. It's a good thing that it's not winter or he'd have one toasty belly. And before you start thinking you've fallen down some rabbit hole, that is indeed a very small chair.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 11, 2007

In and Out

My parents borrowed their friends' pick-up truck to bring me my stuff (not a good sign). It's stacked on the bed in the cat room three boxes deep and three boxes high.

I did, however, send them home with two of my dad's staple guns, their wet vac, and their air purifier. All of which were still left from the initial cleaning phase last fall. After they left I found several other items that I will attempt to pawn off on them soon.

Then I ran a small load of stuff to the donation center. There will certainly be more, but this way I was able to avoid even bringing several items into the house. I took:
  • one bag of clothes that had been previously prepared and has been shuffled around room to room as it got in the way of various projects
  • plus four clothes items from my own closet
  • five pairs of shoes (including two pairs of Steve Madden mules/clogs)
  • one pair of boots
  • one stack of dishes from my college/Florida years
  • one candle holder with the tag still on

I also informed my parents of the new gifting policy. No knicknacks unless I've specifically requested them. They seemed to understand after having packed all of those boxes and then seeing my basement.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Stuart Smalley Meme

A while back BerryBird tagged me for the Stuart Smalley meme. It is like many of the other list memes going around except for one little twist: this list of ten things has to be ten things you like about yourself. This is quite a challenge, especially if you are feeling a little poopy. I have elected to do it in installments, since I haven't found much inspiration yet (the dog ate my homework and all). So without further ado... I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!

Ten Things I like About Myself:

  1. My eyebrows. I have naturally well-shaped eyebrows. Even in my pre-waxing days when it looked like I had two caterpillars crawling across my face I received compliments on my eyebrows.
  2. My ability to drive standard transmission. Granted, I did refuse to take the road test on a standard because of the hills, and my dad rented an automatic for one day just so I would get my licence. After that though, there's been no stopping me. As I've said before, I think everyone should at least know how to drive a stick in case of an emergency, and it's a mandatory requirement for the men I date (you know, the fictional ones in my head).

OK, that's enough for now.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I actually did something!

Here's what I got done last night:

  • two shelves of books (not organized but out of the box at least)
  • which emptied one box completely and part of a second
  • put clothes in 5 drawers in the dresser
  • which had previously been stacked on the bookshelf
  • FF gave the cat room a thorough vacuuming
  • and I brought one unopened, brand-new tooth brush to work with me to leave as a grab item in our break room (it is not a style I would ever use and was a freebie from the dentist- must learn to say "no, thank you")

My parents did not end up bringing my stuff last night, but they warned me that there is a lot of it. Fabulous.

No construction work was done yesterday except for the delivery of sheetrock, which was conveniently stacked blocking the stairs to my basement. Uh, thanks guys. I really hope they come back today to hang it.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to prevent the cats from scratching the tops of all my furniture (i.e. buffet, old sewing machine table, new handmade table from the farmer's market)? I usually keep everything piled with items to prevent them from jumping up on them in the first place, but I hate the cluttered look and feel of that method. All you cat people out there, do you just sacrifice your furniture for the love of the feline?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Cutting Down

One of the bloggers I enjoy reading, Riana, has been writing a series of interesting posts on simplifying her life and cutting down on her consumerism. She's calling it "A Slow Year".

I've been reading along and thinking how fabulous she is for doing what she can but that I wouldn't be able to do it myself. And then my parents called last night. They will be showing up tonight with my belongings that were left at their house in the years since I moved out. I own a three bedroom house and it's full. I have random pieces of furniture plopped in odd places waiting for the family room to be completed. The basement is so stuffed already that there is just a narrow path leading to the washer and dryer.

I've had enough. So I'm brainstorming on things I can do to cut down on my possessions.

First, I'm considering issuing a request to my family: no more nicknacks or claptrap. If it collects dust or takes up space I don't want it. If I can't eat it, wear it, or read (always an exception for books!) it, I don't want it. If I haven't specifically requested it, I don't want it.

Second, I need to tackle what I already have. Can I donate it? Throw it out? Return it to its rightful owner (namely mum or sis!)?

And third, organize what I keep. The piles of crap, they have to go.

I realize this sounds ambitious. I recognize it would mean actually putting forth some effort and pulling myself away from the Law & Order reruns I've already seen twice. But I can't live with boxes stacked in my living room. The time for action has arrived.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Book Quiz




You're Brave New World!

by Aldous Huxley

With an uncanny ability for predicting the future, you are a true
psychic. You can see how the world will change and illuminate the fears of future
generations. In the world to come, you see the influence of the media, genetic
science, drugs, and class warfare. And while all this might make you happy, you
claim the right to be unhappy. While pregnancy might seem painful, test tube
babies scare you most. You are obsessed with the word "pneumatic".



Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

As seen at No Polar Coordinates.

I'm going to have to start using the word "pneumatic." What does it mean, anyway?

Sad

I am overwhelmed with sadness for a boy I used to know. A boy I had as a camper, who was funny, charming, intelligent, affectionate, and kind. I haven't seen him since the last day of camp a decade and a half ago, but he has always stood out in my memory as being one of my all-time favorite campers.

And now he's been arrested for arson. I am sad to think of how he got to a place in his life that made this a possibility.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Birth Date Meme

Marni tagged me for this meme. I am nothing if not predictable.

Go to Wiki, type in your birthday (month and day), choose 3 events, 2 birthdays, and a holiday, and then tag 5 folks.

Events

  • 1789 - Mutiny on the HMS Bounty

  • 1945 - Mussolini and his mistress are executed by firing squad

  • 1969 - Charles de Gaulle resigns as President of France


Births

  • 1926 - Harper Lee

  • 1937 - Saddam Hussein


Holiday

  • Canada - National Day of Mourning


Tagged

  1. NSLS

  2. BerryBird

  3. Andy

  4. Mary

  5. Chelene

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Jackpot!

One of my co-workers brought me four mature hostas this morning. Someone she knows is ripping out their gardens to install more grass, so she was able to dig up a bunch of plants. Knowing my love of hostas in particular (and plants in general), she brought me what she felt she could spare.

The forecasted high today is 95, so the plants are hanging out in my cool office. It's like a mini-jungle in here and every time I turn and see them I am just so thrilled.

I am not looking forwarded to digging into the dry, rock hard earth after work, but it's a small price to pay. Literally, as anyone who's ever bought a mature hosta plant can tell you.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sorry if I offend

I can't stand the inconsiderate nature of some smokers. What makes you think I want your disgusting little butts all over my yard?

I just picked up nine butts from my front yard and driveway from barely more than half a days work by my contractor and his assistant. That's without looking for them, just happening upon them.

Should I leave them a coffee can and risk offending them? I don't want anything to negatively affect the quality of their work, but I can't face fifteen butts in my yard every frickin' day. I can't even think of something comparable. At least dog poop disintegrates after a few days.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Grandmothers

I spent the day in the hammock rereading another Madeleine L'Engle book, The Summer of the Great-Grandmother. When I read it the first time I was moved by her experiences but could not relate to them personally. This time around so much of what she writes about her mother hits home.

And it occurs to me that this is the first summer of my life without my grandmother. We had such good times at my grandparents' house when we were youngsters, playing badminton, running through sprinklers, all the home cooked meals (fresh corn on the cob!). I could go on and on.

I am also forever grateful for the times we shared while she was in the nursing home. The walks we all took, three generations of women, to the gazebo. We peaked at the hidden house, admired the flowers, and took picture after picture. Grandma used to hide from the camera, but she gave up as she reached the end of her life, so we have many pictures of the three of us crowded around her at benches along the paved walkways.

Pictures are what hold my memories together. Thank goodness my family is rarely without a camera or four.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Village Walking

I was feeling a bit bored with my neighborhood walks, but the heat and humidity usually make for too many bugs in the woods. I had some borrowed items that I needed to return to my dad, so I decided to multi-task and walk in Hometown Village.

It worked out better than I could've hoped. When I pulled in the driveway my parents were standing there in their running gear about to set out. They went for a run down towards the school as I headed down towards the river.

I enjoyed the old houses and well-tended gardens, plus the bonus of having a sidewalk. From the bridge I watched a barge squeeze into the lock with only a few feet to spare on either side. I had a near-encounter with an old classmate who still delivers pizza, but fortunately his attention was diverted and I was able to slip past undetected. The dead tree covered in flowering trumpet vine looked exactly the same as it did in the summer of 1993 when I spent many nights walking around town with friends.

Back at the house, my parents and I sat cooling off beneath the ceiling fan while we visited.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I should be a real estate agent.

I just got home from showing my grandmother's house for the third time. I know the housing market is bombing right now, but I sure hope someone buys it soon because I'm not even getting a commission.

I treated myself to some dinner from McGreasy after the showing and scarfed it down like it was the best thing ever. And heck, it tasted pretty darn good. I could live on fries that tasted like that. Mmnn, fries and chocolate, my ideal diet. Not together though.

On a completely different note (other than the commonality of bad habits), FF told me about a girl who's eight months pregnant that chain smokes cigarettes and was smoking pot last night. Why is it that so many people that would make wonderful, caring parents struggle to see that become a reality and this twit acts like she has no brains in her head? It makes me so sad for the baby.

She also apparently doesn't know who the father is, so I guess I should feel a little sorry for her too. But it's hard to find sympathy for such foolishness.

It's not a soap opera, just small town America.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bullets of too tired to write more

  • My birch tree is being devoured by Japanese beetles. They are practically swarming. The leaves have been reduced to lace and are scattering over the lawn.
  • What is happening to le Tour de France? I nearly drove off the road on my way home from work when I heard about Rasmussen and Vinokourov on NPR. What on earth...
  • Construction has commenced! The hallway and linen closet have been framed in. Siding is in the driveway. Wow.
  • I finally started training my replacement at work today, which means that I may get to assume some of the tasks that go with my new position someday soon.
  • Things are so unsettled at work right now. Practically every week things change. It's a bit stressful.
  • I've been rereading A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle. She is one of my all-time favorite authors. I find her writing so inspiring.
  • As a result, I've been journaling again. I had stopped journaling in my spiral notebooks altogether since the break up with FF. I'd dumped so much into them during that time that I had negative associations with the whole concept. It feels good to be journaling again. It was something that I let slide during much of our relationship, so it feels good to regain the things that matter to me.
  • I continue to meet my weekly goal of a minimum of two walks per weekend. In fact, I exceeded it by one walk this week. Go me!