Monday, December 28, 2009

miracles happen.

i was going to write a post congratulating myself on meeting a fitness goal.  

then i read this.

i read this blogger everyday, and even though i've never met her and i probably never will, i feel connected to her and her life. that's the power of blogs.  and because i am a praying person and a believer in the power of mighty prayer to make miracles happen, i am passing this on.  i will be keeping him in my thoughts and prayers.  feel free to post it on yours, and do the same, if you feel so inclined.


My name is brandy. And I have a blog.

And a plea.

I use my blog to showcase the crazy I meet everyday, share the stories of the kids I teach and document my love for tequila, dairy products and the abdominal muscles of Ryan Reynolds. Rarely do I talk about personal issues on my blog- as personal as the dude that I adore (who I actually met through my blog- single ladies, let that be a very good reason to blog, the possibility of meeting someone as wonderful as my man), but I need your help. And it involves my dude.

He’s a guy who made math comics for my class, so they would love learning about addition. He’s the kinda guy who sends my friends gift cards when they are having hard times, who remembers every story I ever told him, who was the first person I celebrated with when I got a teaching job. He’s the guy who sent flowers to me at school- dozens of my favourite pink roses just because he loves me. He’s a guy who has spent a year patiently explaining (and re-explaining) everything there is to know about football during the important games when silence is preferred. He’s made me word puzzles and comics and stayed up late playing Scrabble with me (even though I beat him almost every time). He’s listened to me cry about school and family and jobs. He is everything I never knew I needed and everything I always knew I wanted.

The holidays have hit us hard. He’s recently been told he may have something called multiple myeloma- an incurable cancer, that gives a person an average of five years of continued life. Though this news has came as a shock, he continues to be exactly who has always been- spending his time worrying about me, rather than worrying about himself. He’s the most selfless individual I know- (he stayed late on Christmas Eve to work, so his co-workers could leave early) and a post like this would never be something that he would promote or encourage but when I’m overwhelmed and feeling helpless, the blogging community has always given me tremendous support and comfort, two things I desperately need at this time.

As I write this, the future is uncertain and we aren’t sure what’s happening. He’ll need to see an oncologist soon, to verify what’s going on in his body. My hope is that everyone who reads this think positive thoughts and if you are a person who prays, could you add him to your list? (You can refer to him as ‘brandy’s hot awesome dude’). If you don’t pray, please keep him in your heart.This cancer is only a possibility and I believe that the prayers and positive thoughts of people can make sure it never becomes a reality.

I want to give a big thank you to the blog owner who scraped their original blog plans and graciously put this up. My goal is to get as many people as possible to see and read this post. If you are reading this and want to help, copy and paste my plea into your blog or send a link through twitter, so more people can keep him in their thoughts. I would be so very grateful (even more grateful than I am to my friend who first showed me the picture of Ryan Reynolds on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. If you haven’t seen it, Google it. You. Are. Welcome).

I realize this all sounds dramatic, a Lifetime movie in the making- but this is life. Right now. And I’m throwing away any hint of ego and am humbly asking for you to pray or think kind thoughts. If you are able to pass this on, thank you and if you know anything regarding MM- please email me (my email is on my blog). This isn’t a call for sympathy or a plea for pity. It’s just one girl hoping you can think positive thoughts for the person she adores. If my current heartache provides you with anything, let it be with the reminder that life is short, love is unbending and no one knows what could happen next. Maybe it is silly, but I really do believe that positive thoughts can make a huge difference. Thank you for reading this and if you haven’t already? Please tell someone you love them today.

I did.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

i know, i know.

i left a poignant ending to my last text-filled post, which really would have been a good way to leave things.  but cue the day before the day before Christmas, when i am responsible for tying up loose ends and getting things done while musicboy works excessively long days so that we can flit out of collegetown for a blissful 9.75 days or something like that, none of which will involve school and all of which involve copious amounts of carbs and yummy food and sparkling lights and grand adventures spent in the warm embrace of family i haven't seen since i was decked out in white and the star of the show.

there's really still so much to do, though, that i'm having trouble downshifting my brain from course prep for next semester (i had hoped to have all of my online course completely planned, including quizzes written and uploaded and discussion questions posted and paper assignments constructed, but it's not all done.  it's done for a month, but not all done.) to the wonder of the season.

i feel like santa must in the final days before his big journey--checking things off of a list as long as my arm and trying to make sure that nothing is forgotten in the melee of travel preparations and shopping and wrapping and cleaning. 

i want to get really excited. 
i want to be seriously pumped at anything remotely related to Christmas. 
i want to get misty at zuzu's petals and tickled at the sight of tinsel.
i want to sit, contented, near my family and think of what's important.

i don't want to be worried about how much i have left to do, how much i have to do when i get back, how to make everyone happy, and what kind of impression i'm making.  i don't want to worry about dishes in the sink and cleaning out the fridge and having enough room in the car and in the suitcase. 

i think i'm getting there, but right now it reminds me of the end of the semester. after i was done, or when i was close to being done, all i could think of was all of the things that i had to worry about.  it took me a couple of days to really chill and enjoy the fact that i had time to do other things. 

i'm sure it will be the same this week.  tomorrow, when we open our stockings before we leave our little house, it will usher in Christmas. i'm sure that i will have things left to do. i'm sure that i will get hot and sweaty and probably a little frustrated trying to get everything into the car and situated.  i'm sure that there will still be things to do. 

but i'm also sure that this, the first Christmas that musicboy and i have EVER spent together, will be a good week.  i am sure that the wonder and magic and awesome will descend upon me, probably as we drive out of collegetown.  Christmas day marks one year with musicboy--it was the best Christmas present that i've ever gotten. 

but Christmas isn't about presents. it's about the presence of people that you love and making them happy.  i'm very much looking forward to making memories that make Christmas amazing.

let's get it started.

wordless wednesday: the completely illogical way i spend my time when i should be doing things that are productive

wordless wednesday, the ohmygosh tomorrow's Christmas eve and THIS is what it looks like edition.

Monday, December 21, 2009

i'm more than a week early, suckas.

so i really really hate new year's resolutions.

i know that i will hate new year's resolutioners who take my treadmill at the gym from early january to mid february (we all know that few of us last for more than six weeks). but mainly i hate new year's resolutions because any time i did it, it seemed artificial and desperate and not likely to last. i get it, i get it.  it's a new year, you want to turn over a new leaf, blah blah blah.

you can turn over a new leaf any time. that's what repentance and change and goals are all about. 

that's why i hate new year's resolutions. because we can do them any day at any time.

so i might hate it a little that my new goals suspiciously coincide with the beginning of a new year.  but really, i've only now had time to breathe, plan, and make some goals.  and there is something captivating about a brand new year.

musicboy and i have been making some plans, and those plans coincide with and have lead to my six month goals. or perhaps i will call them my 180 day goals.  i don't know. 

but because goals are never real unless you write them down and are accountable for them, i'm going to write them down and change my sidebar to track them.  you may not care. you may not want to follow them. but it will help me if i can be accountable. 

so here we go.

in the next six months, i will:
  • do all i can to lose 20 pounds.  while i recognize that, with my new gym regimen of strength + cardio, i may very well gain weight while shrinking in size initially because muscle weighs more than fat, i very much want to reach a particular number by may or june.  i am also completely aware that after losing 100+ pounds, my body may not be as happy to be at the number i'd like to be at, but i know that i can at least lose 15 pounds, so what's another 5? 
  • work hard to build up our savings.  that means being smarter about money and vigilant about moving money when we have any extra.  that means i need to start shopping the megasales at grocery stores and making cheaper meals (or making meals last...which actually i'm pretty good at actually).
  • finish my dissertation.  this will be promptly followed by a dissertation defense and then walking and getting hooded (which sounds vaguely ominous, but that's okay.).
  • pray every morning and evening as a family and individually.  i haven't been doing as well with this, but i need to do it.  it's the thing that makes my days better.  it will be the only way that i will be able to accomplish any of the above. 
there you go.  i think i've covered most all of the important areas of my life--trying to achieve balance and all of that--and they're all pretty challenging. some more than others, of course, but all will require diligence and discipline, something that i feel like i've been lacking lately.  what i know, also, is that success in one will inevitably lead to success in the other. on the days when i manage to run longer on the treadmill than i thought that i could, i feel like master of the universe. that gives me the confidence to work on a chapter that was bothering me, which leads me to feel like i can do more with less and gives me hope.  that, of course, leads me to be grateful which leads me to give thanks. you see what i mean.

so there you go. my six month goals. 

in other news, i have piles of laundry to do and i will i will i will go back to the gym today. musicboy and i went early this morning and did strength, but i didn't get enough of a calorie burn.  i'm trying to do twoadays this week because i don't think i'll be working out much at all next week.  i don't think i've ever had this many presents to wrap (two families! for the first time!) and i have to get new tires for the car and get the brakes fixed and the oil changed etc before we head off for christmas travel to far north of collegetown.  i really hate and procrastinate getting my car worked on. it's not because i'm afraid of the cost--i know it's going to be insane--but i just hate it.  i don't know why.  it's stupid.  inconvenient too.  blah. 

that's a deeply uninteresting update for you, but there you go. 

what are you up to?

oh, and in case i don't post again before the big day, merry christmas everyone.  may your days be full of love and warmth and lots of yummy food.  may we all remember how much we have to be grateful for, most especially because of the Son that we celebrate on this day. 

His gift is the best gift of all. 

Friday, December 18, 2009

sometimes, i surprise even myself.

not that i think that i really surprise anyone else, because i don't think i'm as altogether mysterious as i would like to be.

wednesday.  let's go back to wednesday, shall we, because it was one surprising day.

it was final exam day at collegetown u for this teachergirl. a 10 o'clock exam is not too bad, but it becomes more complicated when you have to pick up a volunteer exam proctor that you've never met, then truck across a rather large campus in time to be there half an hour early.

it also becomes more complicated when you don't realize how long that is going to take.

and when you forget your wallet at home.

as i approached the big campus, i realized that where i normally park for free, about a 5 to 7 minute walk from my normal office and classroom building, would be entirely too far away for this particular occasion.  no problem, i thought, i'll just park in the big pay lot right across the street from the exam.  it won't be too expensive, and the annoyance elimination factor alone will more than make up for said expense.  so i drove around the barriers on campus that they set up during business hours to quickly pick up my proctor and then was about to head over to the pay lot when i realized that i had left my wallet at home.

no wallet, no pay lot.  even though it is one of those lots where you just swipe your card to pay and so i probably could have parked there anyway and risked it, that felt deeply wrong, so i decided to risk it in the decal parking lot.

the one for which i DO NOT have a decal.  it was finals and i thought there was chance, albeit a small one, that i could get away with it without a ticket.

didn't happen.  got a ticket.

i was prepared for that, and it was not that big of a deal. it would have been a shining beacon of awesome if i had not, but i knew the chance i was taking, so it was fine.

i went around the barrier again to drop off the proctor at the building where she'd left her bike. and got pulled over by a bike cop.

yeah, i'm not kidding.

remember how i didn't have my license? or insurance information?

yeah.  luckily, said bike cop only gave me a ticket for driving in a restricted area. 

yay.  two tickets in two hours.  whoopee! that has to be some sort of record.

after this string of awesome luck, i decided that, even though i was going to go to the big discount store to finish some stocking stuffer christmas shopping, i was going home and staying there until my luck changed.

musicboy came home from work shortly after i arrived (i had soothed my soul with online crossword puzzles until then) and then we graded finals and blah blah blah.

we watched a movie and i took a nap and then just as i woke up we heard a giant crash.

(i'm not kidding. i couldn't make this stuff up.)

our christmas tree fell over.  apparently the truck got soft or something so the screws didn't hold it in as well as it should.  in the process, several ornaments, including the BRAND NEW as in we just got it in the mail that day wedding ornament we got from musicboy's mom, broke.  we think we can fix it with superglue, but still.

as pine needles covered pretty much every inch of our living room and musicboy tried to get the tree back together again (or at least figure out what the heck happened), i decided to make dinner. pancakes.  it was easy.

they burned.

at that point, we gave up and went out to eat and went to the big discount store to finish shopping. 

but what amazed me, truly, was how i reacted to everything that day.  i'll admit to being upset when the pancakes burned, but other than that, i sort of laughed it off. 

two tickets? it's just money.  it's not anything that's going to go on my record, and i was trying to do the right thing.  oh well.

christmas tree? we fixed it. we'll fix the ornaments.  it will be okay, and even if they're a little wonky, it will be a good story for the kids and grandkids someday. 

pancakes? meh. it's just food.

sometimes when i stress really bad about things over which i have no control, and when i live in fear of complaining student emails, i feel like i'm not very brave at all.  i had even said that that day--that i wasn't very brave.  musicboy said i was just taking a brave break this semester, because i'd had to be so brave for months before with wedding and meeting in-laws and getting everyone to like me and keeping everybody happy and standing up for what we wanted and getting ready to start a brand new life. 

he makes a valid point.

but then days like wednesday come along, and i realize that i'm probably a lot more level-headed, centered, and brave than i think i am.  it's in moments like those, when the world seems to be imploding around you in the insignificant but nonetheless incredibly aggravating and demoralizing ways, that you really see what you're made of.  will you grow frustrated? will you take it out on yourself, on those around you, on Heavenly Father? will the blame game be your default approach?

for me, the answer is no.  for me, the answer came in an incredibly comforting dose of perspective.  it wasn't like i asked for it.  i probably should have prayed more that day, but i sort of felt like it was okay anyway.  all was well.  i was healthy (though i did choose NOT to go to the gym that day because oh my gosh i would probably break my leg).  the people i love were healthy and happy. things are just things and they're replaceable.  all of the important things were accounted for. 

all is well.

i like those moments.  i really do.

i'm truly glad, though, that wednesday is over.  comedies of errors can only go on so long, you know?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

sometimes i speak too soon.

more email called me rude, sent me incorrectly formatted papers, and told me that i had to submit a grade change form because i misunderstood the directions.

just when i thought it was over, it wasn't.

so i cried a little. then i got over it. 

i think.

snippets from the email.

"i was out of town for two weeks and forgot to turn my paper in. can i turn it in now?"

(a week and some after it was due)

"what were x and y assignments?" i respond.  "oh will you let me make up y assignment or not?"

(this like four hours before grades are due, and after i've already turned in my grades.)

mama says that the lesson to learn here is that i should invest in the students that are investing in the class and not invest so much worry in the students that don't seem to care.  these are very wise words. i am going to try to incorporate them.

i started by problem solving my way out of some grading issues (corrupted files, files sent in the wrong format even though i've told them 158 times not to, etc.).  then i went christmas shopping with my husband and saw invictus and ate chick-fil-a.  it was awesome fun and i started to feel, ever-so-slowly, the weight of the last few months slipping off of me. 

i'm so glad.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

mourning fury.

i'm currently slogging through about 70+ research papers.  the end of the semesters, gosh i love them. 

i have mentioned that i am teaching at two places: rural community college and big collegetown u.  i have mentioned that the adjustment to these VERY.DIFFERENT populations has been stark, humbling, and somewhat frustrating.  by about halfway through the semester, i felt like i had really gotten the message.

i changed my approach, lowered my expectations from my big collegetown u set, and taught much more step-by-step. i focused on answering questions, on workshopping papers piece by piece, and by trying to give students the tools that they needed while also challenging them to rise to higher standards than they were perhaps used to.

i felt like i was being successful.  i knew there were students who weren't turning in papers, but because my classes are (will never be again, but are currently) weighted average classes (i.e. the third paper in the class is worth 20% of your grade, while the first is only worth 10%), i never really know the ramifications of student apathy until these weeks when i am calculating.

i find myself now vacillating between two very different feelings: pure and complete mourning sadness and unadulterated fury.

i am giving more failing grades this semester at rural cc than i have EVER given, probably in combination, in the entirety of my teaching career.  some of these are for the people who have fallen off the planet and never withdrew from the class, despite the fact that emailed ad nauseum and let them know that they should.  for those, i do not mourn.  i think it a preposterous waste of resources, time, and intellect to register for a class and then never show up for it.  it is antithetical to my very nature, thus it is prohibitively difficult for me to understand how someone could not feel any responsibility for it.  one student let me know that he could not withdraw without losing his funding, and that he'd rather take the f.  i can understand that.  but joe student who told me in the third week of class that he was going to withdraw and just never did? lazy.  unnecessary. annoying.

but what about the students who have come to class? who have showed up most every morning at 830 but just didn't turn in work? 

those are the ones who fill me with this contradictory blend of sadness and fury. i just read a paper that i generously gave a 68.  i am trying to be kind at the end of the semester, but i also absolutely refuse to give you an 80 if you have no argumentative structure, have obviously lifted source material (although, for time's sake, i refuse to google the heck out of these papers and just nail them on the fact that they aren't citing what is obviously not common knowledge), and don't really make an argument. but even if i HAD given this student an 80 on this paper, that student would barely have made a D.

a D.  in a class that this student could easily have gotten a C in if this student HAD TURNED WORK IN consistently. 

it's just so horrifying to me.  i was talking to musicboy about this last night, as i began to feel the weight of all of this grading descend upon me. it happens every semester. i'm not sure why i should feel like this semester would be any different. 

but this semester is different because everything feels new and very, very amplified.  working at the rural cc is an awesome gig in so many ways.  i love that the population is diverse. i love that i feel like these are students who really want to learn. i love that i feel like i'm making a difference, much more than i feel with, right or wrong, what feels like a very overprivileged population at big collegetown u, a population that trafficks in an attitude of entitlement. 

nothing drives me nuttier than someone who walks into a class and thinks they are entitled to an a because they showed up and put in some effort.  i'm sorry. that's not how life works.

but rural cc is almost the opposite. while there have been shining moments of awesome (the fact that i just gave a high B grade to a student who has been mired in the Cs and that led that student to earn a B in my class is just one example), these students just seem so apathetic.

why don't you care that you are FAILING? why don't you understand that there are consequences to your actions?  do you really think that not turning in homework and classwork and then not turning in a paper worth 20% of your grade is the way to be successful? do you really believe that this is the way that life works?   why are you even in school if you don't want to do the work?  why are you giving up so easily? it makes me so sad.

and at the same time, i am angry. i am angry that someone would fritter away a chance that so many others fight tooth and nail to get.  i am angry that someone doesn't rise to the level of capability that i know that they have.  i have seen it. i watch it every day in class.  i know who you are, person who is trying to fly under the radar. i know that you could do better. why don't you WANT to do better?

i am beginning to understand grade inflation.  there are moments when i absolutely have to stop myself from changing grades just to stop the hemorraging of failing grades.  when i gave the 68 on that paper, and then calculated the final grade and saw that it was a failing grade, i had to do some more math.  i play this game with myself: "what if it was a 75? would it matter?"  it didn't and since that was my upper limit, even when i'm trying to save someone, that was that.

but it doesn't make my heart hurt any less, nor does it make me any less angry.  there is something so deeply, deeply demoralizing about the moment when you realize that all of your efforts have had very little effect on someone and that your course's grade may be the reason for bad things happening to them. 

i almost wrote that i would be the reason that bad things would happen, but i had to stop myself.  i am not the reason for anything happening to them.  i am merely the reflection of their performance.  but while that may be the eternal truth at the heart of this lesson i am learning about agency and choice, the reality is that i will likely be blamed.  there will likely be a slew of emails over my break from students panicked about their grades. and i will have to, in the measured tones that i am learning to employ, explain how when you don't turn in 25% of your work, and you don't perform well on other things, the math just adds up to the opposite of success. 

i think teaching requires a thicker skin than i currently have.  i don't ever want to have a callous heart, but maybe i'd like for it to someday be a bit easier. 

Friday, December 11, 2009

our goal was to go to sleep...

...but last night instead we spent an hour and a half talking about big things in life and planning. 

whenever musicboy and i feel like life is trying, we reconnect through talking. talking is how we started, you know, and talking is how we remember how much we love each other.  i like that so much about us.

we talked about big things and it wasn't scary.  they weren't bad things, just things that could maybe be scary because they're like big life things.  i love that we can talk about anything and it's okay. 

and we came to the realization that we can do it.

that was cool.  it was one of those times when we realized that, on paper, nothing ever looks like it will work out. but with faith, it will.  that's the way our life is.  on paper, we should be ridiculously poor. in reality, we are doing really well. we have good, solid financial plans for our future and we have plans to manage the financial challenges that will come when i graduate (hello student loans and health insurance).  on paper, life should be really difficult because it's the FIRST YEAR and that's supposed to be really tough with the adjustment. in reality?  we're fine. we've managed the first, insanely busy, wickedly stressful semester with grace. together.

all of these blessings are surely not from us, and we know it.  and i continue to be amazed by how much we are blessed.  today, for example, we got some amazing news about a bonus from musicboy's work.  we thought bonuses had been done away with.  apparently not.  it comes at the perfect time, and it's an amazing blessing. 

all of this to say that i love that we can face the big life things with faith.  we realize that, together, we can face anything but most importantly, together with Heavenly Father, we will truly be blessed.

come what may, we'll love it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

game on.

we joined the EXPENSIVE collegetown gym with three locations.

we went for the first time last night and i burned something like 700 calories.

today, i was INSANELY hungry (not surprising since i worked out hard last night and woke up at 5 am).  tonight, i am fairly exhausted but will go tonight with musicboy.  we will do the weightlifting. i will do the cardio first, then the lifting, then the cardio.  it will be either like walking/jogging through mud or exhilirating fun.

i haven't really changed the way i've eaten.  maybe some more vegetables.  we're eating at home more, which is VERY VERY good, even though when i am tired and don't want to cook i am all WAH chinese.  luckily musicboy is much stronger than i am once i say we should stop spending money like crazies. also the megahefty monthly total for the gym might contribute to that.

i feel quite good about the whole process. i had three goals today: go to the gym, do the laundry, and grade.  two out of three ain't bad. 

excuse me while i go wade through the pile of clean laundry that need to be folded. 

Saturday, December 5, 2009

as i was driving to the grocery store, i realized a major flaw.

when i see facebook friends rooting for a rival college football team, i lose respect for them. 

in fact, i may even feel momentary disgust.

it's usually momentary, and countered by more rational, kind, and generous side, but i a little bit want to tear their eyes out with my bare hands.

this is a personal flaw.  it only lasts through january, though, so perhaps it's something i can just live with?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

existential question of the day. sometimes i do that.

will it ever feel less WHOA that i'm a married lady?

a friend (you know who you are!) is getting married in a month. i remember when musicboy first got back, when we were first dating, when she first got engaged (her engagement was a LOT longer than mine!)--and her wedding seemed so far away.  now it's just around the corner, and i'm so excited for her and the amazingness that is newlywed life and i think WHOA.

i'm married.

i spent so long wanting to reach this point in my life, and now i'm here, and it feels so normal and natural and cool and i continue to be in awe of my husband's kindness toward me and how much i love just being around him, not in a googly-eyed lovestruck teenager way, but in a wow, he's such a cool guy and i really just completely LIKE him.

you know, in addition to the loving him too.

sometimes i think about it, as i realize that time keeps passing and soon it will have been six months and then it will have been a year and someday there will be more time that we've been together than we haven't been together and i love that and it floors me.

that time passes and you adapt to it and it takes really random moments to make you realize how MUCH things have changed and how different you are and how much you have changed. 

i'm grateful for those moments, but i guess i wonder. will i ever FEEL different? i'm not really sure that i do.  i feel like teachergirl, the same teachergirl, just...married.  i'm happy, very happy, but i was happy before.  i guess i thought that i would feel so much different as a married person. 

does anyone know what i'm talking about?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

there's a silver lining to every really large, ominous, vomit-inducing black cloud. or so i choose to think.

so remember how i was like "oh woe is me, i have a cold and it's SOBAD and i hate being phlegmy and my husband must really love me"?

yeah.  so once upon a time, musicboy made yummy pie. and we decided (mainly, he told me, but i listened, contrary to my better judgment) that it didn't need to be refrigerated.  so for whatever reason, i seemed to be the only person eating pie and i wasn't eating pie in vast amounts, so by sunday night, there was 1/4th of a pie left.

and it looked okay, but not at the same time. but i was all "lalala, it's just the sugar!" and i shoveled a big slice into my big mouth even while some part of me, probably the part of me who has read things on the internet about FOOD BORNE DISEASES and OHNOPUTFOODAWAY! and who lived with my roommate for two years, was like NOOOOO!

and i packed the rest of the pie in musicboy's lunch. for monday.  still unrefrigerated. 


by 12 pm yesterday, i had the beginnings of probably the worst case of food poisoning i've ever had in my life. knowing musicboy was still at work and probably hadn't eaten the dessert we now affectionately call "the death pie" yet, i texted him and told him DON'T EAT PIE. VERY BAD PIE. WILL CAUSE YUCK.

and then i proceeded to yak my guts out in any way possible for the next 6 hours. 

don't you love these little updates that i give you? i knew that you did.

but even though he was somewhat privy to the last vestiges of what must be the most horrible illness ever (at least he was within earshot), he still loved me.  still got me gatorade. still went to the store and got me sprite and white bread (back in the early phases, when i thought i would be eating sometime within a 24 hour span of that moment).  he is a saint.  this much i know for sure.

and then he gave me a blessing, because somewhere in there i came the closest i've ever come to passing out (likely from dehydration), and felt like i needed divine intervention.  and say what you will, it worked.  no symptoms, or at least nothing major, since that blessing.

i totally love Heavenly Father.

just for giggles, i got on the scale last night.

six pounds down.  and there's your silver lining.

you know, other than the fact that a) Heavenly Father loves me; b) my husband is an incredibly wonderful person with a great deal of compassion and c) gatorade was invented to keep me alive. 

this past month has pretty much sucked physically.  i'm ready for a reboot or something. good grief.

Friday, November 27, 2009

brought to you by the great pumpkin shortage of 2009. or, in other words, happy thanksgiving!

happy turkey day, y'all.

i'm pleased to report that our first thanksgiving as a married couple was uneventful and full of pie.  because of work schedules, we were only able to spend about a day with family before we headed back to collegetown.  it was lots of driving, but worth it. we made pie (well, i played assistant to musicboy's butternut squash pie masterpiece, which might sound nasty but is AMAZING and is the only 'pumpkin' pie that i actually like). we hung out with musicboy's family. we ate food and we played games.  we drew names for christmas. we were pushed to come up with what we wanted for christmas (and we couldn't think of ANYTHING. weddings are like christmas and birthday and every gifting holiday on CRACK. i would be pleased, i think, if i got nothing but silly stocking stuffers from everyone.).  we drove home.  all in all, it was a good milestone.

here's a snippet of my thoughts on such a momentous occasion:

1) i miss my grandma's mashed potatoes.  they kick every other mashed potato's butt. they also clog arteries but seriously.

2) i think holidays and traditions make it even more clear how very different families are. i get along with musicboy's family very well. i don't know them incredibly well yet, with perhaps the exception of his immediate family, but i have always felt like we were very similar.  his family jokes a lot, like mine, and they are very close, like mine.  but i am beginning to see even more clearly how different they are. that's expected and not at all a bad thing...just a little bit unexpected. 

3) i think it's both enormously cool and daunting that musicboy and i get to CHOOSE how we want to handle holidays, what traditions we want to continue, and what approach we want to take toward things like Christmas and gift-giving.  we got to talk about it as we drove home last night, and one of the things that i love most about our relationship is how similar we are in our thinking about things like this. 

i like that we're thinking about it. i like that we are focusing on the things that are important--what we want to focus on, what we want to teach whatever little ones we have, what we want the season to really be about--and it's teaching me what parenting must be about.  you have to think ahead. you have to make decisions ahead.  and you DON'T have to do what your family did. there's this miraculous ability to pick and choose the best and infuse it with your own sense of individuality, with who you are as a couple. i think there's awesome power in that, but only if we take advantage of it. 

i hope we really take advantage of it. 

4) i miss baking.  i bake all of the time, but i miss baking with a purpose.  no pie making for me this year. i'm tempted to make an apple pie anyway, but considering the fact that i've eaten more pie in the last 36 hours than anyone should legally be permitted, i'm going to stifle that urge.

5) oh college football. we're entering the VERY.SERIOUS. portion of the season, and i'm excited.  musicboy and i will be in collegetown stadium this weekend, on a beautifully crisp fall day, for the last home game.  i'm excited.  next week is a VERY.IMPORTANT.AND.NAILBITINGLY.YIKES.WHAT.WILL.HAPPEN. game as well, and then it will be well and truly into bowl season. 

ah. i can't talk about it anymore. one week at a time.

i don't think i've been this excited about christmas decorating and festivities and everything as i am this year.  we're getting our tree on monday.  i think we're getting a live tree, i think, even though it will cost us lots and we will have to buy all of the assorted accessories (i.e. tree stand, etc.), because we will be here in collegetown until VERY shortly before the holiday and i don't want to spend my whole december feeling all BOO SCROOGEy because my house isn't decked out.  also, see above riff on creating traditions. 

i really should go and do the piles of laundry that have, well, piled up since i fell victim to the death mucus scourge of 2009, but the iron bowl is on and i really really really want to watch it.  bah.  what should i do?

(i'll probably wait to see how it goes...and if it's pretty ugly, i'll go wash clothes. if not, i might just have to do them later.  maybe i'll grade now and so i'll feel less lazy?  hmm.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

i ought to own stock in kleenex after this week.

there comes a point in every relationship when you realize that that whole "for better, for worse" thing is for reals.

i think my realization that musicboy loved me truly and magically and amazingly no matter what was yesterday when, despite my being a phlegmball of death mucus and having the woe-is-me misery to go with it, he hugged me tight and told me how grateful he was that i was his wife.

i knew he loved me before, of course, but he has weathered the first time i have gotten well and truly SICK like a champ.  when i get sick, i get MISERABLE.  i can handle nausea.  give me a broken bone and i will suck it up AND go hiking on it two weeks later.  give me raging menstrual cramps and i will cringe a bit and maybe ask for a backrub, but overall i suck it up.  give me a raging case of something-that's-not-congestion and i will probably handle it well. i may take more naps than usual, i may whine a little (i do's not a pleasant character trait, but it's there), but i will deal. 

what i won't do, though, is sink to the depths of misery that a powerful cold plummets me to. i'm not sure why it is.  but i go all internal.  i don't really want you to pay attention to me, because i'm gross, but i want sympathy.  i don't really want you to do something for me, because i feel guilty, but i don't want to do anything myself.  essentially, the spirit is willing but the flesh is SO weak. 

(oh. and i'm SUPERoversensitive.  that's a new revelation.  it could be cold + birth control = CAHRAZY.  either way, i've had to seriously monitor my reactions to things.   luckily, i just haven't wanted to talk much because of the sick, so i haven't had the chance to go seriously crazy. thank you, sore throat.)

about the time when i think i cannot handle it anymore, that's usually when it begins to get better. but i have about 12-24 hours of pure misery before it turns the tide. 

(i believe, i hope, oh my gosh i wish that i am on the upward swing of that. i feel less like i want to die and more like i have hope and want to take a nap.)

it was in that window of pure misery, when all i wanted to do was cry but refused because it would just make MORE snot (sorry, y'all, but it's true...), that musicboy hugged me and told me how much he loved me.

i think we've learned something about each other this week.  i've learned that he really doesn't handle me being sick well.  i've learned that he feels helpless and that he just wants me to be better. i think that was a revelation to him as well, how much he hates seeing me sick.  i think that might be the sweetest thing i've ever seen.  it's been an interesting thing to watch, as he has transcended his feelings of helplessness into just asking what he can do and doing everything he can think of.  it's what i do, so i understand it.

i've also learned that, unlike many stereotypes to the contrary, musicboy is NOT a baby when it comes to being sick.  he handles it like a champ, and if he actually comes home and sleeps or rests because he's sick, it means he has the serious plague. i don't think i realized that until i got what he had, and it knocked me flat.  it makes me feel like a little bit of a wimp, but i think he just has a superhuman immune system.  i'm glad, because he's going to be a teacher and that's just walking into a petri dish of yuck.  but i'm also glad to know this because it will help me to take care of him better.

this soul-sucking virus has also put a shining spotlight on how i deal with illness myself, helping me to understand even more clearly how much i never want musicboy to feel inconvenienced or grossed out by my yuck, but how much i need to get over that because, honestly? we're in it forever.

and i feel like there will be a lot more colds and piles of tissues in our future.

i'm up for it. after this week, i know he is too.

that's incredibly comforting. 

Saturday, November 21, 2009


musicboy was sick this week. well, actually, he probably still is since the congestion is still lingering.  musicboy never gets sick--at least not full out sick.  he will start to feel rundown, so i will pump him full of vitamins and he will sleep more and he usually bounces back.

the fact that he did get sick tells you much about how stressful this semester has been for both of us.  also, we eat like crap most days despite my desire not to.  lately i have just not had the energy to do much that's healthy. i do try, though.

this illness began with a sore throat...which i started to get on thursday night.  by yesterday, it was legitimately hurting and by the end of the day, it hurt to talk at times.  this morning, when i woke up, i just wasn't talking much.

musicboy, who had to go to work this morning, said that he wished he didn't have to go to work so that he could take care of me.  instead, he made sure to get me all of the things that i needed, including all of the appropriate vitamins and water.  it was the sweetest thing he could have said to me, i think, in the whole world.

i am grateful for him.  so much more than i realize until moments like this when i realize how much he does and how much he loves.  i am grateful that we have all that we have, that we are blessed with all that we are blessed with.  i am thankful that this sore throat hasn't turned into a hideous cold, and am genuinely hoping that it won't. 

i know it's the season for gratitude, and it seems trite. but i really am blessed and just wanted to say so out loud. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


of the friends that i have known that have lost significant amounts of weight (i.e. body transformations), very few of them have kept it off. 

i've been thinking about that lately, i think in the back of my mind, because i am afraid to be one of those people. especially once musicboy and i decide to have a baby, when i know my body will change, i don't want to be backslide so much that i end up where i was before.

most of you didn't know me then.  i look a lot different now than i did. but more than that, i think i approach things differently. i used to eat when i felt bad about life, used to use food as comfort. it was my go-to way of dealing.  stressed? ice cream.  sick? carbs.  depressed? bake something...and then eat it all.  i don't think i ever COMPLETELY got over that, but i think i learned to rein it in and be very conscious of that tendency.

except for last week. when i was feeling SO SICK that i didn't want to eat anything, all i wanted to eat was crap.  so i decided that i would just eat whatever i felt like eating because in the end, because i was eating so little, it would be fine calorie-wise.  when i started trying to eat more, more regularly, i didn't change what i was eating.   and i found myself wanting to eat cookie dough when i was feeling sad or down, and that scared me a little.

don't get me wrong.  i understand that we all cope how we cope and the fact that i was worried about it in the moment, and recognized old, well-worn paths of behavior in the moment even if i chose to still eat spoonfuls of dough, speaks volumes about how aware i am of my habits.

but the fact that i am somewhat afraid to weigh myself right now also tells me a lot as well.

today i saw some recent pictures of one of those people who had been inspirational to me as i embarked on losing weight myself.  i'm not judging in any way--i have gained my fair share of inches over these past four months of stress and newlywedded, cookie-baking life--but i was just sad.  i so want it to be easy. i so want everyone to be successful.

to a certain degree i don't understand why it's so difficult to keep it off.  except when i realize that it takes every day effort and life doesn't always afford that.   it takes everyday dedication and sometimes life just makes us feel too tired to try to dedicate our whole effort to all of these things.

but that worries me.

i've been thinking about all that's coming in the next semester.  in the next six months, i will finish my dissertation. it will be the end of a six-year journey that began when i came to collegetown 130 or so pounds heavier and a lot less clear about who i was.  over the past few days, as i've realized that these are the months before the big stuff starts happening, the new chapters in life that will bring with them so many new challenges, i've been wondering if now is the time.

i have been stuck at this particular place in my fitness and weight for about eight or so months.  i'm okay with that--it's how i kept off the first 90 pounds for a year and a half before the second round came--but i'm thinking that if i don't do it now, i won't do it.

after seeing the pictures of the friend, i read the blog of another friend. she is probably one of the few who has kept the weight off, but she doesn't seem content. her last blog post focused on wanting to finally get where she had been trying to get, her goal weight, instead of trying to be okay with what wasn't really okay with her.

the reality is that, as much as i wonder if this is my happy weight, that my body likes because it seems to want to stay here (or in a 10 pound window of here), i feel the same way.  i never got where i wanted to get. i stopped just short.  i'm still 12 or 13 pounds away from where i desperately want to be, and about 20 or 25 away from where i would LOVE to be. 

those i tell about the end of the dissertation talk about it in terms of a marathon.  what a great parallel and this next section that i'm gearing up for is the equivalent of miles 23 through 26.  i'm far from a marathon runner, but essentially? i'll be pushing through, around, and past all of my walls. 

i think i'm at the same place with my weight and fitness. i can either go for it, believe in myself, make sacrifices to do what i know i need to do now or i can always wonder if i could have done it and didn't. 

a friend of mine is considering joining the expensive gym in town, the one that has three locations and is open 24 hours a day.  i normally would say that it's too expensive, that i can do it on my own.  the reality of these four months has taught me that i can't.   it feels like a great extravagance even still.  we can afford it, right now at least, but even if it meant pinching pennies hugely, i wonder if it would still be worth it.  i think there's a greater cost without it.

i don't want to say that i will weigh 30 pounds less in six months. i don't want to say that i will go to the gym every day and that i will manage to do all that i'm doing now and add dissertation and working out into the mix.  the reality is that i don't think either of those goals are actually attainable.

but the more i've been thinking about this, the more i'm realizing that i have the opportunity right now to prepare myself--physically, emotionally, and in every other way i can think of--for the life i want to lead.  it's going to take being selfish a little bit, learning to not feel guilty for letting musicboy contribute, learning to take time for myself and be okay with it, learning how to dedicate myself, at once, to personal and joint goals. 

it feels like it's time.  i think i'm ready again. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

yin and yang.

last night, after unexpectedly receiving a belated visa gift card in the mail for our birthdays, musicboy and i went out for family night on a real date.  the kind of date where you go to dinner and then a movie and then ice cream and try not to think about the calories.

the kind where you make out at the stoplights and cuddle in the movie theater.

the kind that make other people want to throw things at your windshield because they're so shocked that you're "multitasking" in the privacy of your own vehicle at a stoplight.

the kind where there is no talk of dishes or laundry or any other life-related thing.

it was lovely. it was preceded by a family home evening lesson on seeking given by my brilliant musicboy. it was a really good reminder that we should be seeking the Lord first and early.

yesterday was good.

then i woke up this morning in a FUNK. seriously though.  i did not want to face my day, which is my longest day. mainly, it's the tutoring job that i hate.  i used to not hate it so much. i used to be able to find joy in it.  i think since i have decided that i won't be coming back next semester (though i have yet to communicate that to my boss, despite all of my other teaching plans being basically cemented), i no longer see it as anything other than annoying. it could also be because i get zero break there.  even when there are two or three of us there, which is the rare portion of my time because i am normally by myself, the constant stream of students makes my head swim and my eyes cross.

and basically i am just ungrateful.

all that said, today is the flip side of yesterday.  which i sort of hate.

but i miss my musicboy and i'm exhausted (and have been, combined with nauseous, for at least a, i'm not pregnant) and i'm tired of this semester and i want it to be over. i want life to be easy.  i want the work to be done.  i want a BREAK.  even on the weekends, i find it very difficult to find a break. it's not because i don't get them--i'm lazy when i need to be so--but because i'm always thinking about what i should be doing or what has yet to be done or what needs to be thought about or planned or ohmygosh what will i do next?

it's really rather exhausting.

and on that happy note, i need to read my scriptures.  i haven't really sought the Lord much today, and He's the one who can help with all of this.

update: i read a conference talk, and this was one of the quotes. "Adam was told, “Cursed shall be the ground for thy sake,” which meant for his benefit, and “by the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.”3 Work is a continual burden, but it is also a continual blessing “for [our] sake,” for it teaches lessons we can learn only “by the sweat of [our] face.” you can't tell me that the Spirit isn't real. i needed to read that right then.

excuse me while i get to work and seek to find the blessing in it. 

Saturday, November 14, 2009

ho-hum is status quo.

i'm fairly sure that i dreamed of butternut squash last night.

yeah, i don't know.  except that there is a butternut squash above my microwave waiting to be cooked. i think i'll tackle it tomorrow. i have never made it before, but i think it will be yummy.  it sounds like it will be.  we'll see if musicboy likes it as a vegetable rather than as a pie. 

i realize that my blog has been anything but interesting lately, rarely thoughtprovoking, and likely very internal. 

sorry, i guess, except that i'm not sure i mind it so much. it's strange how much changing your blog voice and location changes your output.  butthenagain, so does changing your life.

i'm not sure which is which right now. i do know that i spent four something hours importing and editing wedding pictures, then uploading them and printing them, then uploading them again to facebook.  the printing went well--some of them are quite gorgeous.  some of them didn't turn out very well, so we'll see what my photog can do with that.  but overall, i'm quite pleased. i also finished my thank you notes, with the exception of the few that i don't have addresses for, for which i cannot be held responsible. 

or so goes my story.

but i'm pleased to have that off my back.  i should probably have done something more academic or teacherly in nature, but i didn't feel like it. so it was either watch judge pirro and cruise facebook, hoping something interesting happened, or do something like that.

i think i chose the better part.

i will try to do the same today, although it will likely begin with a bagel and HGTV.  because that's just saturday morning to me.

at least the bed is already made.

Friday, November 13, 2009

in the meantime, part deux.

yeah, so remember how i said that i was trying to wait patiently and be all logical?

i'm just going to straight out admit, right here and now on the internet, that i suck at it.

S-U-C-K. megasuckage.

instead of being moderate about it, i have turned it into a bit of a fixation. so.  today? i'm not going to do that.  i think i will go for a walk.  it's beautiful weather.  i think i will go to the grocery store. ooh. maybe i'll walk to the grocery store.  yeah, probably not.  my poor car desperately needs gas, so i think i will do that. i think i will finally finish my thank you notes and send them off. i think i will make the bed and do the dishes and maybe watch a christmas movie, because for some reason it feels like that would be a good thing to do and miracle on 34th street is calling my name. 

i will say, however, that musicboy is excellent at being logical and at reigning me in from the crazy fixation. i want him to be proud of me, so i'm going to suck it up. 

and maybe make chocolate chip cookies. i made banana chocolate chip muffins/bread last night, because i had some bananas that were turning nasty and because i thought they'd taste good, but i'm not so sure that's what i want. i've wanted chocolate chip cookies, however, for like 9 days straight.  maybe i'll just buy them instead? 

anyway.  this is my admission that a) i am not as good as i'd like to be and b) at least i'm still trying. 

happy friday, all. 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

in the meantime...

shiny leggings are not pants. please put something over them.  an oversized shirt isn't good enough. 1987 would like you to learn from their mistakes.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009


i've always had quite the imagination.

when i was little, it was a huge aid to me.  i could entertain myself, a skill i'm sure learned from my mother, grandmother, and grandfather who always encouraged me to make up my own games.  it pains me when i see children who cannot do that for themselves. on sunday nights, when i watch the kids for the choir nursery, i love seeing how the older kids make up games and stories and plans and schemes, letting their imaginations run wild.  one of the fathers called in "save the world" play. i liked that term.

my imagination has also always let me be the most avid reader. i can literally lose myself in the world of a book, letting time go by and dishes pile up and meals go uneaten while the fiction that i have invested in plays itself out.  i love that, obviously, since it's what i've chosen to do with my life. 

(as a small caveat to that, i wonder if i can still do this really with classic novels. i can definitely do it with young adult novels, which is why i have a burgeoning collection, but i'm not sure i can turn off my critical eye when it comes to bronte and austen and all of those guys and gals.)

but my imagination has a flip side too.  when confronted by the potential for conflict or confrontation, i can imagine my way into many a scenario that has little grounding in any kind of reality. i can imagine whole conversations, how they'll go. if there's any gap in my information about anything, you can be assured that, in that case, i will fill that gap with the most negative potential solution.

i don't think i do this because i am a pessimist, though you may not see how that could be true. i think i do this because i am a worst-case scenario preparer.  you may not see those as different, but i do. i firmly believe that life takes courage, so if i can imagine surviving the worst-case scenario, i go forward without question. even if i think there's a chance that i can get through without being scarred for life, i usually go for it. 

(regrets are worse than battle wounds.)

i am actively trying to fight this tendency.  there's one area of my life that is very difficult for me to do this in, but i am trying very hard.  my imagination just desperately wants to go full force in one direction, using any and all evidence that might possibly support that idea to make me sure of its truthfulness. 

but, see, i've been wrong before.  so i'm trying to keep myself grounded, take every day as it comes, and wait and see.  that's not at all standard operating procedure for someone like me, imaginative as i am.  if i actually am right and not jumping to some serious conclusions, i'll know. i always do.

but in the meantime, i'm trying to let reason rule the day.  it's a challenging road to travel, being both imaginative and a woman.

we'll see. 

Monday, November 9, 2009

yeah, i don't know.

i am crazy tired, which makes little sense since i have gotten more sleep lately per night than i had in the entire eight months before our wedding. we average 8 or 8 1/2 a night on good days.  i got almost 7 last night.  i shouldn't be this tired.  whatever. i am. i have been for a few days.  i'll take a nap. all will be well.

went to rural cc for my class this morning, which was planned halfway, and walked in to see the dean of our department sitting in the back for a surprise! observation.  yay.  luckily, i think i did pretty well.  i was happy with it, even though most of it i pulled out of thin air.  i was glad i wore a skirt.

we celebrated 3 months of marriage yesterday. musicboy wore the tie he wore on our wedding day to church, and i wore my wedding pearls.  it was sort of sweet.  then we spoke in church, worked in the nursery, went to a farewell for some missionaries, i went visiting teaching, and then we went to choir where i worked in the nursery again. 

and then some stuff happened which i don't really want to air out to the internets, but involved me getting blamed for something entirely miscommunicated to me and probably handled very badly. how did i react? cried.  cried hard because i was trying hard and nothing makes me more RAWR than when i'm actually doing my level best and someone accuses me of not doing enough. long story short to this non-story: my husband totally validated my reaction and someone called and had my back.  and i'm not at fault. and i have no more responsibility in the matter. it could not have worked out any better at all if i had tried any harder.  i love Heavenly Father.

other than that, life continues. the weeks bleed into each other sometimes, and sometimes they crawl by so slowly.  musicboy left his phone at home so instead of immediately going to sleep for a really desperately needed nap ( eyes hurt with tiredness like i was up all night.  what the heck.), i'll head over there to give him his phone and get a hug in return. 

then i'll come home and plan a lecture that i have to videotape (good grief...ugh.) for big university class department.  i hope it doesn't suck.  but right now? i might not care.

in other news, i fixed up our little planter garden plot outside and it's SUPERCUTE.  i win.

sorry that this is newsy and sort of fractured, but see above comment about SOVERYTIRED. 

the end.

Monday, November 2, 2009

healthy fail.

i just ate two chocolate chocolate chip peanut butter cupcakes that i made for the halloween party but then promptly forgot to bring so i had 22 of them in our house.

upon thinking that i might eat a third one (after lunch, no less...), i smashed them up in preparation to throw them away.

and then ate the frosted crumbled top of another.

i HAVE to workout today, even though i have no time.  i am pleased to report that something like 14 or so are now in the trash. they were good, but they were getting stale and they were posing a serious threat to my pants size.

oh, excuse me, i have to go check the birthday brownies i'm baking for musicboy.

oh man. i'm gonna get so fat this week.

Friday, October 30, 2009

hi, how's it going?

i just wanted to pop in here and share with you what must be one of murphy's underreported laws.

when you need to buy a little black dress for a costume that was dictated by the murder mystery party that we will be attending tomorrow night, it is impossible to find anything except too short or too sweater-y (which, if you have hips or wear a size in the double digits of any kind, you should NOT PUT ON YOUR BODY EVER).

thank heavens for the potential of raiding a friend's closet.

but if that doesn't work, i might just wear jeans and a shirt and some heels and try to look hot and call myself a modern, low-key witch because this junk is FRUSTRATING.

the end.  i have to clean up this house. it's a pithole of death. the fact that i deeply believe it is my duty to make sure that food and house is taken care of despite considering myself a deeply independent, forward thinking woman is a blog post for another day.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

the grateful game.

it's all about the gratitude today, people. it has to be.

things i am grateful for:

1. i felt adorable in my kitty cat costume for last night's church halloween volunteering activity.  i took pictures of myself.  i had fun seeing all of the families all dressed up in their costumes.  they were really cute and it was fun to play with the kids, even though it involved me chasing after little balls and putting up bowling pins over and over again.  it was good.

2. the person i backed into in the parking lot before said halloween volunteering activity (who had backed up behind me without me knowing it) said it was likely his fault and didn't really have any damage so essentially said not to worry about it.  the damage to my bumper is paint and minimal.  it could have been so much worse and more traumatic. it wasn't. people are genuinely kind.

3. i got to talk to my mom last night.  that was good. it's been too long.

4.  in the course of talking to her, i came up with a good and merciful idea for one of my rural cc classes.  it felt like a revelation of sorts.  they have been my guinea pigs and have gotten the short end of the stick for that; i let up on them SERIOUSLY for the last few weeks of the semester.  yes, in the course of doing that i have eliminated some of my work, but it was mainly for them. and i loved sending them the email to tell them.

5. my awesome quintessential teachergirl idea for musicboy's birthday is coming together. and it involves multiple types of baking. hooray!

6. the pile of grading is getting smaller. or my attitude toward it is becoming less rebellious and angry. either way, it's better.

7. sleeping well, even if it did involve some sort of strange dream where i was both on a movie set and in the collegetown stadium and dumping milkshakes or smoothies on girls who were trying to steal my man. and i'm pretty sure that there was a long interlude that involved peter, paul, and mary and a bookstore.  hey, at least i'm dreaming and at least they're entertaining.

8. i worked out yesterday. i'll work out today.  i'll work out tomorrow.  that's three in a week.  that's my definition of success.

9.  despite me being selfish and mopey, my wonderful musicboy knew exactly what to do.  we were running late and i was all sorts of stressed and freaked out and who knows what all (see earlier post about NO BUFFER AT ALL).  instead of letting that ride, he pulled me close and we said a prayer to start our day.  it was exactly what i needed; it was, in fact, exactly what i thought i should do right before he did it.  i have the best husband and best friend in the world.

10.  as i prayed, my heart full of gratitude for a husband that most days i don't deserve, i felt the burdens of this week and this day lift off of me. in my prayer, i asked that Heavenly Father be my buffer until i can figure out where mine went.  and almost immediately, i felt peace. i haven't felt that kind of peace in a while, since i've been letting chaos reign supreme. 

today, i just feel grateful...for everything that i've been given and offered and provided despite me being a whiny wimp about most of it every day.  for all of the days when i seem to willfully refuse to recognize the incredible awesomeness that populates and punctuates my life and instead choose to feel overwhelmed and burdened, He fills in the blanks and seems to wait patiently on me to have a day like today--when it all hits me very hard how incredibly merciful He is and how blessed i am. 

its challenges don't make this life any less amazing. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


the heading at the top of the paper i'm about to grade says "mrs. teachergirl musicboy" (a double name only because i'm in the "i just got married and everything in the world has two different names so let's just use both until i have time and the inclination to change it all over" stage).  this, i noticed, after i just looked down at my rings and had one of those whoa moments.

i'm married.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

fall back.

we got a new couch yesterday.

by new, of course, i mean it was owned by someone else and sold for a song and we went and hauled it home but it's new to us.

i was excited to get it, but i don't think i realized how much awesome it would be.  it fits nicely where our twin bed couch used to be, the one we never used but thought would be a good idea since the futon that we dearly loved left this earth in a pile of assorted pieces when we moved. 

it was so nice to sit next to my husband, unhindered by armchairs or floor space, and do work or watch tv.  most of it was doing work, but it was punctuated by silliness that can only occur when you are sitting smashed together on a faux leather love seat. 

musicboy says it will be good for our relationship. i thought he was kidding at first, but now i'm beginning to see his point.


this week has worn on me already and it's only tuesday.

i canceled my classes as rural cc yesterday, with the idea that i would use the time to catch up on grading and planning that has piled up during the Week.Of.Performances, but which didn't ultimately help that much. and honestly? it was mainly because i couldn't face it. i couldn't face going there and having students not have read the assignments and just sit there staring at me. i just couldn't face it.

so i didn't.

way to be brave, teachergirl.

so i'm still behind, despite trying valiantly all day to work on things.  things just took a lot longer than i thought they would, and so i am still behind.  and today is tuesday, the toughest day of my week, and i am just praying mightily that i can do it.

i don't know what's up with me. i just feel like, whereas normally i have a barrier or a buffer of patience and the ability to cope with life's little twists and turns, that buffer has now been whittled down so far that every little thing, from dishes to a 5 hour block of classes, hits raw nerve. i know it's me. i don't like it. but i'm just not really sure how to recover.

i think i spent it all from sunday to sunday and didn't have a sunday or a saturday to find it again. 

is there somewhere you can purchase said capabilities?


halloween is coming.  soon.

i have one costume ready, for a little church activity that i am volunteering at on wednesday night. it's pretty simple but i hope it will be cute.

saturday's costume, though, for a party that we've been invited to? infinitely more difficult and i have no idea what to do.  i'm really just not sure. if things work out as i hope, i might end up just recycling a costume that i wore a couple of years ago.  but i don't know. i'm at a loss.


the moral of the story is this. amid life's difficulties comes carved pumpkins and glittery cat ears.  and sometimes you just have to slog through the days in order to get to the short but shining moments that make everything else worth it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

music groupie zombie girl.

i'm going to be really glad when this week is over.

it's giving me a brief glimpse into what life will be like when musicboy is performing/directing/touring/whateverhewillbedoing after school is over.  in addition to performing every day for 5 days with his percussion group in the school's musical revue, he was also guilt-tripped/cajoled/blackmailed/convinced (never asked, though...) to play in said musical revue's pit orchestra.  so...he's been gone most every night until about 10.  he's normally gone three nights a week until 8:30 or 9, but this week it's just been over-the-top.

luckily (and by luck i really mean it's a blessing from on high and i know it), things haven't been too stressful for me. but i think i realized today how much stress i was holding on behalf of musicboy. i was trying to take care of everything at home, at school, and also attend all of his performances. so far, it's been okay. but today, the prospect of having to go to the laundromat just sort of sent me over the edge. i guess i don't really like having our routine disrupted. 

or maybe i don't like having my plans disrupted.  i had a plan for today and, while it hasn't happened as well as i had hoped, good things have still happened.  and that's a good thing.  but i was still one grumpy camper going to the laundromat. 

haha.  good thing life is predictable, huh?

i love how life is teaching me so much all of the time. i am not at all saying that sarcastically.  i really mean it.  i'm glad to have these lessons because they are preparing me for the future. i'm sure there will be many weeks (months, maybe? hello football and marching band season) like this.  practice is good. 

maybe someday i'll get good at it? actually, i hope i never get good at missing my husband. i'm glad that i like spending time with him as much as i do.  that's the way it should be, i think. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

ps to obscure thoughts

after reading it, i thought...wait, people might think i'm talking about musicboy.

in NO WAY is any of that related to musicboy, unless only really tangentially. it's all about situations that i can't/won't talk about but that i needed to talk about.

so there you go.

all is well with teachergirl and musicboy. :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

completely obscure thoughts that you won't understand.

it's becoming more and more of a disappointment. realizing this is frightening and exhilarating at the same time.  but with every disappointment comes a greater insight into myself and that's incredibly comforting and awe-inspiring.  saying all of this out loud is freeing.

i wish the type of kindness i hope to cultivate was just inherent.  i feel like it should be. or i wish that i understood more how to negotiate this particular brand of kindness, which seems more like guilt, without feeling attacked or like i'm back at square one.  i felt like i had come so far, made so many inroads, and i hate that sometimes it feels like that rug has just been pulled out from under me.

i'm so glad that they are finally mailed, even though i am not yet completely done.  i wish i had been better about it.  i need to forgive myself about that. i am pretty sure i did my best.

i have a plan now and that's really nice. i'm not even scared that i won't be able to do it. i am sure that i will get there, but mainly i'm just committed to doing it. getting it done. being done. i don't know what will come next after that, but i think that's okay.  i really do.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

teachergirl rants: the gameday edition.

dear girl behind me who, with her five friends, is sharing the spot of two seats:

i appreciate the college football game tradition of tailgating. i think that most people probably don't get riproaring drunk before a game where you have to stand for four hours, keep track of complicated plays, and deal with the heat and limited oxygen of a stadium full of tens of thousands (nearly a hundred thousand) people. 

of course, as i write that, i think that i may be very wrong, given the fact that i heard you complain that you had forgotten your flash and, oh woe is you, didn't have your game on that day.

uh huh.

listen.  you are already standing on my husband's seat. which you shouldn't be doing.  despite both of us having an internal battle about whether or not we were going to be jerks about said spatial intrusion, we decided, nonverbally, against it. thank you for having some semblance of a soul and realizing that when we might want to sit down, you need to move your flip-flopped feet off of our stadium seat.  thank you for also realizing that if you touched my husband one more time, i was going to have to say something.  i mean, i might not have, but i might have started sighing really loudly and looking back at you even more than i was.  so thanks for not making me get passive-aggressive on you.  i appreciate it. 

but here's a few tips.

number one. sit in your own seat.  crowding in with your friends in their 9th row end zone seat may seem like a really good idea, but it's not.  go to your nosebleed section, begrudgingly, and then realize that the brilliance of this stadium is that EVERY seat is good.  and then, once you have paid your dues, you can relish the days when you unexpectedly get the most amazing seat ever, where if the kicker went wide right you'd be catching the failed field goal. 

it's only fair.

number two. stop talking about football like you know what you're talking about unless you actually know what you're talking about.  listen, i understand. i often say things, in the privacy of my own living room, that would be laughable to anyone other than musicboy, who just lovingly listens and corrects me when i'm an idiot. most of the time, though, i confine my comments to things that i know about or have learned about.

or, if i'm not sure, i frame it as a question. that way, i save face if i'm just horribly wrong.  like, for example, last night, i asked musicboy if that particular play should have been a holding penalty call. and i learned that holding only refers to someone who DOESN'T have the ball.  knowing that i had just seemed like an idiot, i made a joke of my idiocy by saying that they should change the rules.

that, my dear, is how it's done.

don't, for example, say that the play featuring a player on our team who has the ball, is trying to break two tackles, and is not yet down on the ground but is still digging for yardage, nay inches, should have been called by the ref 4 seconds ago.


don't, for another example, say that the kick-returning dynamo should have gone to the left instead of jutting up the middle, where he subsequently was tackled, because on the left WAS A BIGGER WALL OF THE OPPOSING TEAM.

these are comments that might be entertaining to those around you at your local sports bar or friend's living room, but they're not for the die-hard fans around you who probably know more about the statistics of this team than you can conceive of. when you enter the stadium, you have to bring your a spectator game. otherwise? you have to be a virtually silent fan, cheering when the obvious things happen and keeping your opinions to yourself.

#3.  on behalf of all women everywhere, can i just please suggest that you speak powerfully and with authority rather than with that affected, artificially elevated voice that has now come to be associated (perhaps unfairly) with blondes or with airheads?  i think you're smarter than that.  i really do.  but i think you speak like that because you think it gets you points, because you think that people like it, or because you think that it will get you what you want.

stop it.

you are an attractive woman who attends one of the best universities in the nation. i don't care what you major in or what your gpa is. you're here. 

speak with authority.  speak with power.  you will get much farther and will do much more with that voice than with the one that is both easily dismissed and easily mocked.  life is not a post-game party, where the dimmest bulb seems the shiniest.  bright is beautiful. own it.

on behalf of all of us who don't think your drunk airhead girl schtick is cute, thank you for your kind consideration.

teachergirl, the football fan.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

pumpkins and pigskin.

it's finally fall.  you can't tell it's fall here in collegetown by the calendar. oh no. it only becomes fall teasingly, in two or three day spurts, usually on the weekends. 

but it's best when it's on a saturday. that's football day, and it's the best day for it to feel like fall.  a little bit of a bite in the air, jeans becoming a viable wardrobe option for standing in a stadium for three hours, the need to pull a sweatshirt out of the deep recesses of the closet because the wall of chill you hit outside the front door sends you scurrying back inside.

i do love fall.

i don't care what people say about spring--fall is the time when i want to clean and organize and set my world to rights.  the living room window is open in our little apartment, the texas-oklahoma game is on, and i'm waiting for the floors to dry after i swiffered them.  the sheets are already changed and the bed is made, the bedroom is much more in order, and the bathroom shortly will too.

[mopping is too much effort for me today, but i am not thrilled with the swiffer performance either, so mopping is definitely in my future.]

in the next hour, i'll do dishes and dust (which i never do) and straighten the house and vacuum and clean the counters and burn an apple-smelling candle and try to welcome this beautiful fall weather in whatever way i can before it leaves again.

i'll pull on my jeans, put on my game colors, and head out to spend the most beautiful saturday that i can remember in one of my favorite places on earth...with my favorite person.  we'll walk across campus to the stadium hand in hand, through throngs of tailgaters and fellow fans, and find our seats.  we'll watch the plays and listen to the band, full of people that musicboy knows, and cheer loudly for the team that we both love.

maybe on the way back we'll buy a pumpkin from the little pumpkin patch set up by the church down the street. by then it will be dark, and cold, and the weather will tell us it's time for tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.  i'll make sure to mark tuesday on my calendar, when they'll show "it's the great pumpkin, charlie brown" so that i can remember to actually watch it. 

maybe i'll make this delicious weather and beautiful time feel so at home that it won't leave so quickly.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

guilt is not essential.

that is what i learned from this.

let me back up a little.

i found this blog through my google reader. i subscribe to a couple of blogs that fall under the umbrella of mormon mommy blogs but, as i'm far from a mormon mommy, it seemed a stretch even for me. but i like the way the blog poses thought-provoking questions and topics of relevance not only to mommyhood but living the gospel every day.


i was feeling pretty overwhelmed on monday, needing to grade a million papers that i had procrastinated and not understanding how it was all going to happen.  that's when this blog post hit my reader and every line felt like it was directed to me.

i think we all have those revelatory moments, when something seems destined to speak right to us. sometimes it's a song that absolutely captures our feelings. sometimes it's a novel that contains a character that behaves just like us.  in those moments, i think we sometimes attribute that connection to art, creativity, or some other abstract human idea.

i don't.  i know exactly where it comes from.

it comes from a Heavenly Father who loves me.

when you're hit by a revelatory moment that is divine in origin, you don't ignore it.  unless, you know, you just want cosmic pianos to drop on your head.

so i'm making my to-do lists differently now, and while i haven't made huge inroads into my "like to do" lists, i have gotten the things done that i needed to get done and i've noticed that my days are much brighter. and i'm realizing that i'm listening less to the voice that tells me that i'm not enough.

i don't know why the world is suddenly brighter and why i feel so much happier. it's like a physical reaction, genuinely. 

but i like it. i'll keep it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


sundays have long been my favorite day.

i used to love tuesdays, when musicboy's letters from far across the sea would arrive.  before that, it was thursdays because it was the weekday that, at its close, told me that i had survived the week (my thursdays are becoming very much like this again). 

but since the phd program began, and the chaos descended and made itself at home, it has been sunday.

sundays aren't my funday, despite what the bangles say.  no, they are literally my day of rest.  musicboy and i do nothing--NOTHING--remotely connected to what we do all day every day for the rest of the week.  well, i'll concede that i often check my email later in the day as i'm preparing for monday, but that's it.

no grading. no reading. no practicing. no planning. no nothing.

it is bliss. it is my favorite day.

we've gotten a new calling (or, for those of you not down with mormonspeak, an assignment) at church. for the past few sundays, then, we've been working in the nursery.  after the first meeting, where families are together, the next two hours parents drop off their children, ages 18 months to 12 years old, in primary. the nursery is where the 18 month old to 3 year old crowd hang out.

and that's where we serve.

i love it.  i genuinely love it. not for the reasons you might expect, but because i think it's an assignment calculated to show me what i'm good at and what i'm...not so good at. today, we had a mega non-sharing day. every kid seemed to want to pick a fight with every other kid.  so, i took two kids who were fighting over toys and showed them how to take turns. and before i knew it, the kid who was the worst offender was offering the toy when it was his friend's turn.

that's success right there.

i have also learned that i have absolutely no patience with children who are bullies or who don't listen. for the ones who know that they are doing something wrong, have just seen you tell another child not to do it, yet look at you with the little gleam in their eyes and do it anyway. they just dare you to stop them. i can't tolerate that at all.

but i have also learned that my heart melts for a crying child, especially the one we have who doesn't talk in any discernable words. she signs, and she makes noises that sound like they must mean something to her, but she doesn't talk.  she's my favorite. i'm not afraid to say it.  and she clings to me like i am her security blanket, sitting on my lap during lesson time and not straying far away during the rest of the time.  i told her today that i couldn't wait until she started just talking in paragraphs, because it's going to be an amazing thing.

serving there brings a lot of sweetness to my sundays.

but so does having the time and the inclination to just watch a movie with my husband, to hug him as much as i want, to have the unhurried, unrushed time that helps us to remember why we love each other so much.

sundays are my favorite day, by far.  right now, raspberry bars are in the oven, musicboy is playing bach by memory on the keyboard, and a good friend is on her way over to play games and eat dinner.

today was exactly what i needed. today, i am content.

Friday, October 9, 2009

the beatles wrote a song about this day. i think i only know two lines...but they're important lines.

at 8:05 in the morning, 32 (gasp!) years ago, my poor mother ended three days of labor, laboring through a nurse's strike, and an extra almost month of pregnancy by delivering a nearly 11 pound baby.

and that's how i roll, y'all.

today's my birthday.  normally i am all HEY LOOK AT ME I'M THE BIRTHDAY PRINCESS! but this year, not so much. i'm not sure what's different, except that i am perhaps more happy and content with my life on this birthday than i ever have been.

i don't know that i could ask for anything more than i have. i am healthy. i am married to the love of my life and my very best friend--forever. i have jobs enough to keep us supported and they are jobs that let me use the skills that the Lord has blessed me with.  i am surrounded by so many people who love me that i am honestly always astounded by the outpouring of it.  my life is full and rich and i am incredibly happy with it.

my darling musicboy asked me what my birthday wish was last night.  since i have nearly everything i could hope or wish for (except for maybe wii fit), i thought that i would think that i wanted to finally finish the phd or something similarly goal-oriented.  maybe actually stop eating copious amounts of cookies and work out more.  lose the weight i've gained since the wedding.  find a way to balance all that needs to be done better. learn to make a cheesecake. you know, something wish-y.

not even close.  i didn't even have time to think, really. when he asked me, the answer sprang to mind immediately. it was the very first thing that flashed into my mind, in such a spontaneous way that testified to its deep truthfulness, and it surprised me.   genuinely. 

it's my birthday.   i'm certain this year is going to be a good one.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

this is your wednesday update.

i saw two yellow butterflies playing in the air as i drove home from small rural cc today. i love when i see them, and i see them frequently. they seem like the insect embodiment of happiness.

i have decided that the lyrics "like ice cream melting, they embraced" are probably the worst country song lyrics i've ever heard. sorry, tim mcgraw.  that one should have gone back to the drawing board.

i chopped off my hair and dyed it dark brown, darker than i've ever dyed it and i've dyed it some colors.  it seems like a universal rule of mine that, after i take really adorable pictures that will cement an important moment in my life, i dye my hair a significantly different color.  for engagement pictures, it was blonder. now that wedding pictures are back and chronicle my cute blondeness, i am now a serious brunette.

my birthday is on friday and i have thought about it not much at all. this is deeply unusual for me, the birthday queen.  i think it's because i'm happier and more content than i ever have been.  that said, it's kind of cool to have two families to shower me with birthday greetings and fun things. i just got two unexpected gifts today from musicboy's family.  whee! 

i have grading to do and bones to watch, at the same time.  i am multitasker, hear me roar. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

love is the answer.*

all you need is love.

love can move a mountain.

insert any sort of cliched idea here about love, and you get the general idea.  most people, because these ideas have been used so much and so badly, dismiss them with a quick eye roll and an even quicker change of subject. 

but i think we need to stop doing that.

this weekend was one of my favorite weekends. despite having to change my plans and spend most of it in bed (still grading, but SO SLOWLY and punctuated by naps) because of the persistent case of the YUCKS that we have, we still got the chance to watch conference.

for those of you who don't know, i am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. every six months, we as an entire church have the opportunity to spend the weekend listening to messages from our church leaders, each of which has prayed earnestly to know what we might need and has prepared equally as diligently.  it is a deeply renewing time for me and for musicboy.  it inevitably comes at a time when i feel worn out and worn down, when my batteries are flashing red and i'm not sure how to continue to face all that i have to do.

the same was true this weekend.  i've written before about how i'm having trouble adjusting to the new populations i'm teaching and the new subjects that i'm tackling, how it feels like i'm walking uphill in mud most days and how that feeling doesn't exactly inspire me with confidence.  nevertheless, i keep trudging, but i have found myself easily frustrated and easily annoyed by those same situations, which only makes it worse.

so when i began to watch conference, and began to see a consistent theme focused on loving one another, it sank deep into my soul.  i began to feel the pieces of this puzzle that i'd been grappling with--how do i become a better teacher? how do i deal with these situations better? how do i balance life at home, which is wonderful, with life at work, which is hard, without letting one negatively affect the other?--start to come together. 


what does that mean?  it means, for me, that i have begun to pray to love my students.  i don't expect to feel warm and fuzzies for each one of them every single day, but what i have already noticed is that the frustration that i was feeling about their lack of participation and preparation has stopped really penetrating my heart.  that sounds like i'm callous, not loving, but i don't mean it that way. rather than reacting out of anger or frustration, i simply assess the situation and deal with it, with an attitude that's more about what they need than about how i feel. 

trying to love those around me, i know, will make me much less likely to react negatively. it will allow me to recognize the moments when i can reach out and do something for someone else. it will make me want to be better every single day.  it will change me, rather than changing the situation. 

it makes sense.  i've been trying to change everyone and everything around me, all of my students and how i approach teaching and the lessons i've been doing, without realizing that the greatest change needs to come from me.  in my public speaking classes, i talk on and on about how delivery is the way that you will capture your audience.  how could i not have realized that, being the open book that i am, the frustration and annoyance that i have felt would read on my face, making me much less likely to encourage or inspire students?

so i'm trying love.  i'm trying love in everything that i do. i'm trying to find ways to encourage and ways to care and ways to love that might not have been obvious to me before.

i know it will work, if only i can stick with it.  i know it will change my heart, if that's what i really want.  i know it will have a deeply positive effect, even if i don't realize it right away. 

love always does.

*it really is. it always is the answer.  i'm not even kidding about that.

Monday, October 5, 2009

because when we get sick, we do it differently.

flu?  cold?

no way.

when musicboy and teachergirl get sick, they don't get a fever. their temperature goes DOWN...subnormal really down.  they sleep a lot, but then feel good enough to be normal for a few hours before i feel like crap.

when teachergirl gets sick, she doesn't get sick enough to be like WOW. I'M SICK. no, it has to be this big things where she has to decide if she's actually sick or if she's being a BIGGIANTWIMP who just doesn't want to do her grading.

sick.  definitely.  some sort of weird virus thing.  it's stupid and lame and caused me to get only 3 hours sleep last night.

so it's naptime for me.

good grief.  the swine better stay away from me. i don't have time for this nonsense.

Thursday, October 1, 2009 look like a monkey, and you smell like one too!

today is my mom's birthday. hence the obnoxious, and totally joking, post title.

since it's a new blog, i haven't talked much about her.  mama raised me on her own, with some help from my grandparents, but mostly on her own.  that, in and of itself, ought to tell you how amazing she is.  she worked full-time, finished her degree, and made a life for me that taught me how to be all that she was--fiercely independent, committed to what's right, kind and generous, and a ridiculously hard worker.

i was not always the ball of sunshine and light that i always am now. (ha. that was a joke. hahahahaha. you can laugh now.) i was a tough teenager, not because i got into fights or drugs or crime, but because i was moody and a typical teenage girl. i did what i was supposed to do, but i did it with a splash of pretty serious attitude.  i rolled my eyes a lot, thought my mom was crazy, and believed the tragedies in my life (oh NO! the boy doesn't like me!) topped the angst scale.

it's only been in the past few years that i have realized, perhaps because i've really had to live ON.MY.OWN. and be an actual adult, how much my mom did (and does) every day.  while she was stressed out at times, she never gave up.  while she wanted to pelt me with olives sometimes because of my attitude (and probably still does...), she worked hard to learn how to best deal with me and to understand what made me tick.  she's a model to me of patient endurance. i hope i am that wise as a mother someday.

she is extraordinary.

my mom is a talented woman.  she's ridiculously good at her job, and takes great pride in what she creates. she's also a closet artist. she doesn't get the chance to exercise it much (i hope she will take it up again sometime...), but when her creative juices get flowing, i always know that things will be more beautiful. she's the ultimate problem solver.  she can visualize a room, a process, a situation and, after thinking about it from every angle, can come up with a solution.  those solutions almost always work, but when they don't, she just starts back at square one.  she doggedly pursues what she wants and doesn't give up--even when maybe she should for her own selfish reasons.

my mom has a big heart--she loves people and is loyal to them.  she expects a lot but she gives a lot in return. those expectations, because they are loving in nature, have the amazing ability of teasing the best out of people. people who work for her or learn from her are better off for having been around her.  she's faithful and true, even in the face of hard times.  she loves the Lord and she does what's right, every day, even when it's hard. she takes care of the people that she loves in all of the ways that she can, whether they deserve it or not. i know that i have been a recipient of this many a time, and i am so grateful for it.  she's always there when i need her. i hope i can even come close to being that kind of support to her.

she's funny--it's a silly kind of funny, but she's funny, and she loves to laugh.  nothing makes her happier than to sit around the kitchen table with my family and laugh until we have to pee.  (and we're usually laughing about some really stupid, random stuff. all the better in my mom's eyes.)  she'll watch any disaster movie ever produced, even when they are SO BAD that they make your head hurt for all of your eye-rolling.  she has an iPod full of showtunes, but she's gradually mixing in some newer stuff thanks to iTunes. 

she's adventurous in her own way, although she'll say that she likes things the same.  that's true--she likes routine and things that she can count on, but she's also brave enough to face the scary stuff in life. as a breast cancer survivor, she'd have to be.   i think she's probably one of the scrappiest people i know--and, from me, that's a huge compliment. 

if i were there, i would bake her my famous strawberry cake, make some yummy chicken enchiladas, and we'd have a fun movie night.  we'd make jokes about how old we're getting and then do something ridiculously immature to assure ourselves that we aren't old at all.

we would laugh at stupid silly disaster movies and plot our christmastime domination of the movie theater. we would hang out, and no one would think about the work they had to do or how much they had to face the next day. we would hit the pause button on life, which is so hard to do nowadays, and celebrate the fact that she's the best mom in the whole world and a darn awesome lady as well.

but instead, i sent her a card that i hope will get there today. i called and sang to her voicemail, and then talked to her for a few minutes as well.  she told me all about her week-long plan of birthday celebration (taking a page from my book!) and i am so excited that she is being honored the way she deserves to be. i'm even more proud that she's choosing to allow those around her to shower her with love rather than fading into the background the way she normally does. if anyone deserves the spotlight, she does.

i'll email her the link to this blog and hope she clicks on it,  so that she'll know that on this day, the day that she was born, i'm awfully glad she was.  not because it meant that i'd get to be here (for which i am very grateful--sorry for the three days of labor, mama! and the 11 pounds!), but because knowing her has made my life richer, better, and much more joyful.

happy birthday, mama.  musicboy and i love you very much and we're very grateful that you are who you are, doing what you're doing and being exactly all that you are meant to be. 

you're amazing.