Wednesday, December 29, 2010

thank you, facebook.

...for showing me the 330+ pictures of me and my wonderful husband, under our "friendship," which chronicles our relationship from then until now.  it doesn't take much for me to be insanely grateful, to the point of almost emotional overload, for what i have, but when i look at those pictures and remember those times when i wasn't sure what musicboy felt about me (does he? doesn't he? does he? doesn't he? oy. it was endless or so it seemed.), i am in awe of how blessed i am.

and now we're having a baby too.

for all of your strangely changing profiles and unfortunate privacy settings, sometimes you really do get it right.  so thanks, facebook, for reminding me just how grateful i am for everything that i have. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

where my head (and feet) are at.

you can read about my particular brand of personal inventory here. basically: i'm gaining too much weight too fast with Baby Girl. it's time to dial it back and relearn all the stuff i already know, like how when i eat too much sugar, even if i'm not eating that many calories, i pack it on.  if you know my long journey with weight loss, you'll know that this news is not supergreat, but you should also know that i am not crazy with this. i am determined to do all that i CAN do and then leave the rest in genetic/divine hands.  nothing else to do, you know? but there's more that i can do.

like, i am beginning to reconsider the contents of Christmas dinner, if only so that i can eat better and so that i won't feel guilty.  i had some good ideas for some good, healthy sides--i think i'll just amp up some other healthy stuff and hope for the best. :)

i believe i am finally going to finish shopping today, if my darling husband gets home soon and we can go finish that last bits of it.  i am hoping. i am rather tired of having a list hanging over my head, and i am rather excited to begin wrapping all of my various things so that i can put them under our pretty tree.

i would have liked to walk my two miles on the treadmill today, but errands and life got in the way. that keeps happening, and it's REALLY starting to bug me. tomorrow, no matter what, i'm doing it. the day after that too.  maybe even on Christmas Eve (what else will i do?). 

Baby Girl is kicking her approval (when i was shopping, she was doing somersaults, so there's that...), so that's a plan.

this post is boring.  read the other one. i think it's good and if you're someone who's done this deal before, you can tell me what's up.

also, the orange i just ate was delicious. buying the bag of the small ones? best idea ever.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

pine and nutmeg.

it's been a busy weekend in our house.

on friday, we decided that we were going to finally organize our house. by organize, i mean find places for all of the things that had been shoved/pushed/manuevered/stuck into various closets without much rhyme or reason. part of this was because Baby Girl's room had become a staging area for all of this extra stuff that had yet to find a final resting place, and i was growing tired of trying to visualize a nursery in the midst of total chaos.

part of it, though, was a need to feel like we had finally settled in and, most importantly, that everything had a place.  i don't know why a naturally, uhm, less-than-OCD-neat person would have such a need for this, but i was feeling it for weeks, perhaps months, before the semester ended.  with no real time or energy to get it done, though, i knew it would have to wait.

color me totally pleased when musicboy also decided that it was time too. when that boy gets his mind fixed on something, it's pretty tough to stop him. this ended up being quite helpful as, after hauling a couple of boxes, i realized that lifting and stretching and bending may not be really great ideas at this stage of the pregnancy.

(you think you're not big when you're 6 months pregnant.  but, uhm, your uterus is and those ligaments don't like you much when you try to do something other than haul the fetus.)

so we sifted and sorted and threw away and moved and it was wonderful to sit back and look at what we'd done.  everything had a place, and there was place left for all of the things that we have yet to acquire for the little one. that's a nice feeling.

but what felt even nicer was that the house felt CLEAN. i mean, i haven't mopped the floors or cleaned the bathrooms yet--things that will come (except for bathrooms--that's musicboy's gig) soon because my mom is coming for Christmas!--but everything feels orderly.

and with that comes peace.

i'm sure it's not the least bit a coincidence that we did this on the day that grades were due, so all has calmed down and i am done, for all intents and purposes, with students and student complaints and the whole host of things that were fixing to make me insane only 48 hours before.

and now i revel in lights on a tree that smells delicious and the smell of holiday baking.

i love to bake.  pumpkin bread and banana bread are nearly done, and then i think i'll make magic bars (never done that before!) and perhaps get ready for the candy making tomorrow, which will involve crushing oreos and planning fudge and figuring out the food processor that mama let us borrow so we can chop up some cherries for some sort of australian treat that musicboy wants to make for our friends.

and so here i am, about to crush some graham crackers into oblivion and feeling very blessed to have a home and a place to be and for everything to have its place. 

it's beginning to feel like the holidays, and i am glad.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


the grading and the grading onslaught. it's just interminable.

and strangely, i'm finding that i no longer really want to work at collegetown u. it's not that i'm not really grateful for the opportunities, or that they don't pay well, but i just hate the bureaucracy of it. i guess it's my rebellious nature, but i like being in control of my classes and having the flexibility to be merciful when i want to be merciful and not constantly feel like i'm looking over my shoulder, wondering if someone is judging me.

i'm a doctor, for crying out loud. i wish i could feel like that there.

but this is all just ranting and raving because the reality is that i'm at a loss for a better gig, and i'll take what they give me gratefully and i'll do my job as well as i can until they no longer want me. and i'm not suggesting that i don't want them to.  i just...feel sort of stifled.

but i think that just could be from the semester itself and how it just seems to go on and on and on.  i just want it to be over.

or i want students to understand that i really do try to be as fair as possible, but that my fair is not always what their fair is.  they seem to think that my goal is to make their lives as difficult and horrendous as possible.  i really wish they'd stop that. i really wish that would stop feeling so unfair.


i just want it all to be over.  now i'm just waiting for the onslaught of whining from people who don't like their grades, and then i can post them, and then i can go away from this and try to be festive and organize my house and start on the Baby's room and all of those things that i've been dying to do but can't manage to do when my brain is constantly wondering what bombs are waiting for me in my email box.


i need to unplug, i think.  how, exactly, does one go about doing that?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

more proof that exercise works.

a few hours after i posted, i got another online class at the institution i most like to work for.  we are blessed.

Monday, December 13, 2010

semester round-up.

i've had more cases of plagiarism this semester than i have EVER had before.  i think i failed at least 7 papers for plagiarism, and that doesn't count the assorted discussion board posts and parts of papers that i flagged but didn't wholly fail because, well, they weren't totally cut-and-paste jobs.

(you begin to get new standards when reality wants to slap you, over and over, in the face.)

on the other hand, i also had some of the most successful online students that i've ever had before. online learning strikes me, especially with writing, as one of the more prohibitively difficult things to do as a student. it's certainly not more difficult for me as an instructor, but i totally understand students who don't have the first clue as to what's going on. it's just hard. 

but these kids? they nailed it. it was impressive.

in one class, i think i had 5 As and 5 Fs.

there's the gamut, right there. they ran it.

(and i don't usually give As in 1101 classes--not because i am philosophically opposed to it, but because most of the time, students don't earn them.)

i could get all morose and woe is me about the state of our educational system when people don't understand plagiarism, despite me being all "hey! don't do it! here's what it is! don't do it!" but here's reality. people are lazy or stressed or don't have the first idea what they're doing. in some cases, they are 15 year old kids in dual enrollment classes, who probably don't have any business in a college class before they know their butt from a hole in the ground (no offense to you out there who successfully completed dual enrollment; i wish i had, and if you successfully completed it, then you are certainly not the population to whom i refer).

and here's the other reality: i'm still smarter than them.  it takes me not that long to find it and, when i can't find it but still have my suspicions, there's almost always some other reason that the paper is terrible. either way, i'm justified in grading as i'd like and i feel okay about that. 

here's one more bracing deal for you: we as teachers in the humanities just need to cope.  instead of railing against the heavens, our fists outstretched and a pressing sense of dread for the fate of humanity as our mantle, we need to cope with the fact that students get the majority of their information on the internet, see the internet as the bastion of all knowledge, and don't understand the first idea about source material and how to use it because nobody's teaching them.

so either we teach them or scare them straight or we do both.

my plan, for next semester, is to do both. 

i find a stiff dose of reality, which comes in a 0 on a paper, tends to do that. 

but i think it's time that we realize that students are writing papers on their phones.  they are writing papers on iPads, and they are not spending time in libraries and reading books to do so.  if they can get it electronically, they will use it electronically, and MLA be darned. 

i don't know what exactly i'm getting at, except that i think there's the ideal academic utopia and then there's the reality that we live in. we have responsibilities to our reality, and sometimes that's the only influence we have.  for example, one of the institutions that i am employed by doesn't have a plagiarism punishment policy. i feel ambivalent about it--i don't like honor courts, don't think they really do anything, and try to avoid them as much as possible--but i think that's an indication that plagiarism, as a whole, is something that can be dealt with in a multitude of ways and with a multitude of strategies, all of which (i hope) have the intent of getting the student where they need to be.

on the whole, a successful semester in the sense that i learned a lot and i think my students did too. i'm not sure every semester goes like that. i will say that i've had more push and pull from students this semester than i have in previous semesters, but i've also found myself adapting differently than i would have before. that's very helpful, because sometimes you can't just be hard line. sometimes you have to give people second and third chances, because they deserve them, and because they've proven that their goal is to learn, not to just get a grade.

and then there are the students who email you after you have sent the email that says "grades are final--don't ask for more latitude" and begs you to give him the 13 or so points that it takes for him to squeak by with a C, singing you a song about having taken the class already and needing it SOBADLY.  and you feel badly, because you gave other people chances, but don't feel inclined to do it for him. and then you realize that he hasn't turned in two assignments (which would have put him well over the top) or taken advantage of the extra credit opportunity (again, 20 points for free) or asked a single question about the papers despite repeatedly getting feedback that he wasn't meeting the goals of the assignment (ie. not following directions).

those ones? those ones you write diplomatic emails to that basically say "waiting until the last minute and begging are the not the way to success" and call it a day.

but now i'm without things to do and my husband is playing Mario and i'm bored and so i blogged for one thousand years. downshifting abruptly is jarring.

(ps to the powers that be at multiple institutions of learning: if someone would just throw me an extra class for the spring, i would have a lot less stress. right now i have 4, but i need just one more. i just need one more.  i know we'll be fine, but goodness.  sometimes faith is exhausting. wonderful, and peaceful, but sometimes exercising it is exhausting.)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

two sizes okay.

so, sometimes i think i'm not a very nice person. i mean, sometimes it's hard for me to let things go and sometimes really random things make me sort of nuts. sometimes i think i should like people more or be kinder to people or be more generous with my heart to the whole world.

but sometimes that seems very hard and i get very caught up in my own world and my own challenges and problems.

but then sometimes i find that, where once there might have been anger and bitterness or even, when that was gone, just awkwardness and feeling strangely, instead there is just a first reaction of excitement and joy for someone else's journey.  regardless of the water under the metaphorical bridge, i'm just jump-up-and-down excited for someone else's happiness. 

that makes me happy.  that makes me think that maybe, just maybe, i'm an okay person after all. maybe i'm not grinchly in my heart at all, but maybe i'm actually the kind of generous that i want to be.

some days, anyways. and that's a nice feeling.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

week 22 postscript.

i got up from the couch, headed upstairs to the bathroom, and looked in the mirror.

i swear in the last 6 hours, i grew A TON.  or, i should say, Baby Girl grew a ton.

how does that even happen?

i'm hoping it's the baby and not the baked ziti, but since it's the round belly and not the round butt, i think i'm probably safe.

(also? baked ziti so good.  and not that bad for you, if you don't eat the whole pan.  and surprisingly filling.  that is your pasta update.)


also, best way to do what i love and not gain 1000 pounds? bake for my students. they eat EVERYTHING. :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

thank heavens it's THIS friday.

five of my eight classes end today.

that doesn't mean that i don't have responsibilities for them anymore (papers come in for four of them today; papers for the fifth come in on monday), because i do, but i don't have to plan or prep or anything for them any more.

just one more set of papers for each of them, some calculator checks, and then grade submission.

i am so glad.

in other news, i want some cake.

musicboy is nearly done as well. he has a few remaining assignments, including a 12 page paper that he's beginning to get excited about because it's about...wait for it...MUSIC, and a few more days of sporadic class (one of his ensembles is done, the other is almost done, he basically doesn't even have to go to class on monday if he doesn't want to [though he will, because he's scrupulous about his attendance, which is just one of the reasons why i love him so], and he's working his list of things to do like a champ.

happily, because collegetown u's football team didn't do QUITE as well as they have in past years, this championship weekend is free of marching band obligations.  which means we can sit around in our pajamas if we want while we work on our many, many pages of things to do.

i can't wait.

also, christmas tree! this weekend!

cake might actually be in order to celebrate this occasion, you know? we made it, or nearly have.  i'm so proud of us, because not only did we make it, but we made it and we're closer than ever.  what a blessing.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

teaching postscript

(i don't know what it's a postscript to, but it feels like a ps.)

sometimes you count down the semester to the end of work. today i realized i am counting down the times when i have to see the most obnoxious student i've ever taught. i have three more classes and a final exam and then, hopefully, i am done. 

i don't want to deal with him anymore. it's to the extent that i want to make sure he does well on his speech so that i don't have to deal with his crap.  but i won't. don't worry. i mean, i'll be fair (i'm thinking of being fairly generous to most everyone), but i won't just give away grades.

but it's tempting.

gah.  one week. 

baby chronicles: week 21.5

the staring has begun.

it's the staring where people are trying to figure out if you're just really conspicuously fat in one particular place or if you're actually pregnant. 

i get it on campus now.  fun times. 

(i'm being sarcastic.)

i now really understand why people start wearing shirts that say "baby!" i didn't get it before, but it's a bit easier than constructing a sign that says "i'm not fat, i'm pregnant, so leave me alone or bring me a cookie" every day.


simply grapefruit.

i bought it yesterday. i told you already that it was a thing, grapefruit, but the juice. i've wanted the juice for a while, but that simply juice stuff is expensive. but yesterday i caved and figured--it's ONLY juice. there's no possible reason that couldn't be good for me.  also, it's not calorie dense, which made me happy.

oh sweet holy craving goodness. i love it. 


not sleeping very well.  between the bruised tailbone, the cold, and the crazy manic dreaming, i just don't feel like i'm in that restful state of deadness where your body totally recovers from the day. i feel like i'm running, even in my sleep, and that's beginning to annoy me.


i watched her kick yesterday.  first time for that, and it was very very cool.  she's becoming much more active on some days, which is cool.  i feel her more regularly, instead of just at random times, but she has her quiet times too. 

i think she's a sweet girl. i think she has her daddy's temperament, which is a blessing for our family.  we'll see, though.


i'm tired. i worked hard today, and now it's finally naptime. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

i was going to write this long post about one of my pet peeves, and then i deleted it because i realized i didn't want to say something that i didn't want to say, and then i realized that there were some things that i wanted to say (somewhere else) and then i was going to write a long post about how sometimes there is a time when you must speak and other times there are times when you must not speak and then i realized that the Bible says it much better than me.

the older i get, the more wisdom i see in this scripture.  whether you have particular religious beliefs or not, i don't think you can really doubt or question the validity of the ideas expressed here. so much of life, i think, is learning the right time. 

as a young teenager, i used to see this set of scriptures as the ultimate hopeful promise: that there would be all of these times in my life, that i would have all that i wanted and more, that it just needed to be in the right time and in the right way. 

now, as a (youngish?) adult, i see this set of scriptures much more as a way of life, of learning balance.  i could exercise my close reading skills, and talk about how even the structure of these ideas are balanced grammatically, but suffice it to say that right now, in my life, i see it as the ultimate scale.  for every moment of dancing, there may be a moment of sorrow. that doesn't negate or make less important the dancing or the sorrow--in fact, i think they make each other, in their complete balance, whole. 

there are times when it is right to speak and there are times when speaking is unnecessary. there are times when i feel keenly the injustice of certain actions or events, but for every one of those times i feel deeply the tender mercies bestowed upon me.

in concrete language: for every fall down the stairs there is a baby kick.  for every head cold there is a week of energetic cleaning.  for every student who seems to not care, there are 12 who are engaged.  for every unkindness, an unexpected smile; for every tear, a belly laugh from out of the blue.

to every thing there is a season. don't doubt it.

it's true.  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

a: things you shouldn't do on thanksgiving weekend; b: the things you should.

1a.  catch a cold as you drive eight hours.  it's nice to think that it's allergies but you're probably going to realize it's not the next day.

1b.  pretend like it's allergies and even when you realize that it's a cold, have a good attitude about it, because really? it's just a little cold. there's nothing that you can do about it or take for it, so drink lots of water and rest as much as possible and just make it work.

2a.  wear flip flops on the legendary slippery front stairs while trying to bring your stuff in, have your feet go out from under you, and come down pretty hard on your tailbone.  freak the fetch out, worried about the baby (even though you know somewhere very deep inside that everything's okay because you came down on your tailbone and your big padded butt is nothing if not helpful in such a situation), sob uncontrollably, and text your husband over and over with no response as you wait for your mom to get home.

2b.  lay down, call the husband instead of texting, believe him when he assures you that women all over the world have been encapsulating and protecting babies since we had to run from lions (an apt comment; we're really such wusses comparatively).  nurse the SERIOUSLY bruised tailbone, call the obstetrician that mom knows in town and wait for him to call back, realize everything's okay and then feel the baby faintly kick as if to say "finally, mommy, i told you that i'm fine!" and talk to the ob and thrill inside when he hears where you hit and says "GOOD!"  watch and wait and rejoice again as not one tiny part of the things he said to watch for have come to pass.  watch the clock as 12, 18, and now almost 24 hours have passed and say prayers of great thanks for the protection for Baby Girl and for me. 

3a.  worry about Baby Girl's movement, even though she's been moving around a bit (and i know that the placenta is on the front wall, which likely muffles movement a bit). 

3b. eat craisins. Baby Girl loves craisins. eat pancakes. Baby Girl loves pancakes.  rejoice when she kicks faintly early with the pancakes and quite vigorously with the craisins. 

4a.  sit too long without moving because then moving is OW.

4b.  keep busy, making life easier for my also-sick mom, by peeling 50 million potatoes and cutting them into cubes and boiling them and prebaking pie crusts and watch movies in my pajamas. 

5a. think that this thanksgiving trip is so far sort of cursed.

5b. focus on the fact that this thanksgiving trip has given me more food for gratitude than ever, and be grateful for the times that i get to spend with my family that i didn't expect to have, a bed that doesn't hurt my SERIOUSLY bruised butt, and in weather that actually seems fall-like. 

i am grateful, y'all--so much.  i hope you are as well.  there's much to be thankful for, and though it seems cliche, turkey and stuffing only mean so much without that recognition.

Monday, November 22, 2010

seeing pink.

i'm not sure what it is that happened when that "it's a girl" popped up on the screen. 

or when the (sort of mean) nurse called me out for my elevated blood pressure (my heart was literally about to pound out of my chest before they called us back for the ultrasound, then Baby Girl was uncooperative for the money shot, then i had about 3.5 seconds before they called us back for the get the idea). 

or when we went to lunch (ever so briefly, thanks stupid schedules).

or when the "it" turned to "she" and the "baby" turned to "daughter."

but somewhere, in the midst of all of that, i panicked a little.

how could I be the mother of a daughter? how could i be good at it? all i have learned about psychology and all of my memories of being just a horrible moody teenager and all of my inadequacies and insecurities and a whole host of ideas like that she'll have to compete with me, because that's how she'll find her own identity, and thoughts of spoiled princess girls at church who don't listen all came down on me in one big flood.

and i began to cry a little at the sheer magnitude of it all.

i think it was my first moment of understanding parenthood, in its eternal and unending ramifications.  you are blessed with a baby, but that's just such an infinitesimally small part of it.

how do i raise a GIRL in a world that would convince them that they are less than they are meant to be? how do i raise a VIRTUOUS girl in a world that is convinced that a woman's worth comes from cup size and sexual prowess? how do i show a girl to be confident and strong in who she is and what she looks like when, let's be real, i struggle with that every single day of my life?

somehow, a boy seemed easier. i looked at it like a bit of a project, and they seemed so much more black and white and cut and dried.  as i said before, that's likely because i have no experience being a boy and i had no doubt that any boy growing up in a house with musicboy would have a prime example of how to be awesome without really trying. 

musicboy apparently thinks that of me.  i'm not so sure.

and i don't say all of this to encourage sympathy or cheerful reassurances, because once i admitted my greatest fear out loud (well, in a text)--"what if she hates me?" i asked musicboy, through what had to be hormonal tears--it seemed to diminish in size.

(note to self: teach that to Baby Girl. fears always seem less scary when you say them out loud.)

by the end of my two hours of teaching this afternoon, i was centered back on solid ground. 

but a girl.  it's just...different.  but a small thought came to mind.  perhaps, if i thought i could do boys no problem, that's a vote of confidence from the One who sent her here that maybe i'm stronger than i think and can handle the hard stuff.


i'd hoped that tonight, before i head off to the North Country tomorrow morning after my class, musicboy and i could wander the aisles of some red and white store and buy our first girl thing together. i didn't want that first shopping trip to be with anybody else, but he has finals and projects and rehearsal until 8, so i went myself.

and it was okay, though i was a bit surprised at my reaction.

there's just SO MUCH PINK.  i get that people are all excited about that and think it's adorable, but i really don't want Baby Girl to look like the mascot for a Pepto Bismol convention. 

i found a deep pink onesie on clearance for $1.98.  loved it. it's plain and adorable and it's a color i would wear, so that helped.  then i also found this. 

that's a penguin.  and that says "little bundle of cuteness." that one's for Baby Girl's daddy, who loves penguins but not nearly as much as he will once he sees his little girl wearing one.  and then i bought little socks and called it a day, because i began, as i was shopping, to feel claustrophobically surrounded by pink.

everything was pink.  or if it wasn't pink it was yellow. there was no purple or green or blue unless it was for toddlers. because babies can't have a color palette?

i'm so confused. and perplexed. and horrified. all at the same time.

and please let me go on the record right now as saying this: i hate those super frilly dresses with the tulle. unless your kid specifically asks for it (at that point, therefore, expressing interest in fashion and in dressing themselves, which is an entirely different stage of life and requires a different set of parenting skills) or is in a wedding of some kind, why are those not just the worst idea ever?

like it's easy to wash poop, pee, or puke out of those? let's be real, folks.

give me cotton-poly blend any day.

all of this, and the serious lack of cute dresses for church, indicates to me that i need to learn how to sew. ASAP.


i told you, didn't i, that people would be asking about names really fast? one person asked and i didn't mind sharing because she's practically family (hi saf!).  but then somebody else asked on facebook and i want to be in general like NO! WE DON'T KNOW! WE MIGHT NOT KNOW FOR MONTHS! THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT!

but that seems like overreacting, so i probably won't answer at all.  especially since i feel certain our short list of contenders may exponentially increase before it gets wittled down to reality. 


i don't think there's anything more magical than seeing a baby in utero on a sonogram screen. i find it utterly fascinating and hopelessly engaging.

the first thing the tech did was, obviously, find the baby. and she was so big!  last time i saw her, she was a little 10 week peanut.  she didn't look too much like an alien to me then, with all her kicking and punching, but she was small and tiny.

not anymore.  big head, perfectly proportioned body, all of the things in the right place.  oh, and guess what? 

she fist pumped to say hi. 

the tech started taking measurements, starting with the head, then moving down to the heart, then looking at the bladder and the stomach and the kidneys and the femur and all of those things that they take pictures and measurements of, and finally her spine, which was just majestic. i can't even explain it. the tech was looking to make sure that the skin was covering the spine, and then she measured our baby's cerebellum.

it was all perfect.  she is perfect.  and i just couldn't stop thinking "this is so amazing." 

life is amazing in its infinite complexity and its pure, radiant moments of simple joy.

that was one of my moments of simple joy. 

and then the tech tried to find the money shot, so to speak.  and Baby Girl was having none of it, even though we had had a conversation about how this was the ONE time that she was allowed to be immodest.  she could show us the goods and that would be okay, but then she needed to keep them under wraps. 

apparently she just heard the last part, because she had her legs tucked up under her and her feet in a very important spot.

and i thought, as this was all going on, that it would be so fitting for me and my life to not know what the gender of my baby was until birth just because my baby was stubborn.  but the tech was more stubborn and we got enough views to not see anything...obvious...that would indicate a boy.  i saw a couple of times what i thought were pretty good indications of girlhood, but what do i know? 

so finally the tech was like "i'm 95% sure it's a girl." and i was happy with that, but then baby shifted just a little bit to give us a better view (though certainly not a textbook one) and that was that.

our stubborn, modest girl got outweaseled by the tech. 

we only got three pictures--two profiles and one of the "it's a girl" shot.  i'm a little sad to not have little pictures of hands and feet and all of that, but i also know that we are blessed to have what we have. 

it was quick and it was wonderful and i held musicboy's hand the whole time. i am pretty sure these are what makes life worth it, these moments.  all the crazy schedules and projects and papers to grade and insane students were somewhere far outside the four walls of that darkened office.

instead, we just got to see a miracle on the screen.

it was a good day.


it's a girl, y'all. 

heaven help me.  no, really. 

my mom had good advice: "just let her be her." 

that's wisdom right there from someone who's been through the trenches.  i should stitch that on a pillow somewhere. or paint it over the crib. 

"just let her be her."

i don't think i can do any better than that. 


it's a girl.

musicboy was right; i was wrong. i am not unhappy at all about being wrong. 

i am totally overwhelmed, though, by the idea of a girl.  i think somehow i think it's easier to raise a boy, perhaps because i have no idea how difficult it is to be a boy in this world. i do, however, know how hard it is to be a girl in this world.

and it's hard.

i am in awe, and a bit in shock, and again centered in my pretty constant feeling of surreal. 

more later, i think, but now i have to go pretend to teach well.  who'll be thinking about it?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

week 20: random Baby updates.

we're halfway through. WHATTHEHECK. 

so anyone who's all "you feel bonded to your baby immediately, as soon as you see those pink lines!" is not me.  and i was worried about that a little. i kept saying it was all very surreal, but that was code for "other than feeling like crap, i don't feel like there's a kid coming. uhm, i'm supposed to be ready then, right? uhmmm."

this Baby was prayed for and wanted and planned for, no doubt. and nothing about that changed. but...just because you want it doesn't mean it's not new and weird and different.  if it hadn't been for the book i have about pregnancy (NOT the what to expect book, which i think should be used only as a doorstop or a projectile at someone you loathe, because it's awful), which basically said "hey. everybody gets there in their own time," i would have been more freaked out.

i'm there now. there's a reason why it takes 40 weeks to have a baby. i'm pretty sure the first 20 is adjustment, and the last 20 is planning.  i am SO ready to plan.


Baby likes daddy better than me.  cutest thing ever so far? when musicboy was saying "no...." sort of loudly but not in a mean way (tough to explain in writing, but just trust me) one afternoon last week, Baby kicked. i laughed, told musicboy, and he did it again. KICK.  i told him and he did it again. KICK AGAIN. 

crazy kid loves the daddy. that makes me HAPPY.

not jealous. yet. :)


Baby is growing, so that means where i'm feeling kicks is changing. i woke up this morning and swear that my belly grew, which is entirely possible but still weird.  my profile is definitely changing, which is awesome. i'm a bit tired of just feeling like i look fat rather than pregnant, but that's okay too because i have a feeling that pretty soon i'm going to have very few wardrobe options, so i'm enjoying the ones that still work while they last.

but i'll admit, feeling little kick/jab/flutters underneath your belly button is weird.  it's anti-where-you-picture-your-uterus.  also i keep thinking "wow, kid, are you already head down? what's jabbing me?" so there's that too.


i could eat the world today. seriously.  i'm so hungry.  it's nutso crazytown.  i haven't even gotten on the scale lately, though i probably will before the doctor's office just so i'm not horribly surprised.  i'm resigning myself, slowly, to the idea that i actually am doing the best i can and, once this semester's over, will be incorporating more exercise which, combined with my near obsession about trying to eat pretty well and evenly, is all i can do.  so, come what may and love it, you know? 

i have zero control over anything i don't have control over. and if it means a healthy Baby with some fat stores, bring it. 

but me and Body Combat are going to be good friends. i can feel it.  and i'm EXCITED.


monday is ultrasound day.  don't worry. i'll post the results. 

i'm EXCITED.  like going to disneyland excited.  or getting there.  i can hardly believe it's already here. i can hardly wait to see how nuts the grandmas go. i can hardly wait to be present for said crazy, since i'll be heading home to northland for thanksgiving while musicboy goes south (got some family drama; nothing terrible, just things that require support and presence, so i'm going).  we'll get a front row seat to the gender crazy. 

it's hilarious, really.

but maybe then i'll know (or have an idea) what to do with the nursery. all of the options i've really considered so far are gender neutral but are really just focused on the gender i think it probably is. 

which means that i actually have an opinion, which is sort of new over the past two or so weeks. i'm not disclosing here, because i really won't be surprised if i'm wrong nor will i be the least bit disappointed.  nothing about pregnancy has been remotely what i thought it would be, so why wouldn't i be totally surprised?

plus it seems like a total punk'd prank that my kid would do to me.  so there's that.


i'm really hungry. did i mention?


first craving: grapefruit. it took me a little bit to get to it, and then it only lasted a little bit before i sort of was like "okay.  done. thanks." 

i find these types of cravings perplexing. most of the time i have no idea what i want to eat and instead stand in front of the cabinet or fridge patting my belly and saying "Baby, what IS it that you want?" because heck if i know.

i hope the kid isn't this picky when it's on this side of the world. 


i know that once people stop asking about the gender, they'll start asking about names. i never ask about names. EVER. because, really, i have a philosophy about it and i like my philosophy and also it seems like a very personal question, but that's never stopped anyone before. 

but i'm sort of not looking forward to that, because we're already getting it and so...yeah.


question for you moms: how far apart do contractions have to be apart before you REALLY have to go to the hospital? the place we're delivering has required fetal monitoring and IVs, which means i'll be strapped to a bed. since that doesn't really jive with my birth plan of natural childbirth (uninterested in you telling me that i'm crazy, so please don't), i'm planning on laboring at home for as long as possible.

i'll ask the doctor, but...for reals. i live like literally down the road from the hospital. i can practically see it from my front door.  how long can i wait? i'm guessing 2 to 3 minutes apart.  even then, i may still have a ways to go. 



i need a snack. or for musicboy to get home so we can go eat something somewhere that's not here. 

see? eat the world. i'm so serious.

Friday, November 19, 2010

this doesn't help my humility.

the student who rarely attends class and has hardly handed anything in, who emailed me to ask for a conference, didn't show up to class or to my office even though it was her meeting.

color me totally shocked.

being always right about these things does nothing for my sense that i'm always right about these things.  sometimes students are just straight up disappointingly predictable.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

in which i'm vague but philosophical.

there are times in life when the tables turn. i'm usually surprised by them, because i think they hit me unawares, like a two-by-four labeled "adulthood" has miraculously appeared and smacked me in the kisser.

those times, not so fun.

however, i think there are times when you get to use the two-by-four labeled "adulthood" as a bridge between where someone else is and where they want to be. 

(maybe i've exhausted this two-by-four metaphor. let's move on.)

i'll be the first to admit that, sometimes, adulthood royally sucks.  it's hard, demanding work.  things don't just miraculously happen anymore. your socks aren't clean...unless you clean them.  your dishes...well, they keep piling up.  desperate for some salad? publix is right down the road, and adulthood is the key to the car that will haul your tired, pregnant butt to that store to buy it yourself. money doesn't grow on trees (amen, whoever came up with that line, and if it does, hook me up with that forest, if you know what i'm talking about).  jobs are hard, even when you love them.  you get up with a list of things to do in your head and you go to bed with a list that may be a bit different but isn't any less long.

it's hard is all i'm saying.

but it's punctuated with great joy.  that hard work reaps so many rewards, but so many of them are intangible.  the easy ones come from the more concrete rewards.  there's such a great deal of satisfaction in looking at a home that, while not spotless, is full of love.  cooking a meal for your family can be infinitely rewarding, even if it did take hours and lead to more dishes.  sometimes it's really nice, come payday, to see a fiscal exclamation point to how hard you work. 

but i think the truly great joys come in the truly subtle ways in which Heavenly Father rewards us for our efforts.  paying off a credit card alleviates a burden, sure, but it also comes with such a feeling of awe at the wonders (and blessings) of provident living--and of being obedient to the Lord's prophet.  finally owning a car that you've been paying off for years--and that you paid off early because of smart payment schedules--is really a great feeling. 

but what's even better than that is when you are able to look at yourself, as an adult, and begin to give back to those who helped you get there.  when, as an adult, you're suddenly able to be a strength and support to your own parents, who loved you and supported you (and still do) through all of your faults, flaws, and foibles.  when that two-by-four (sorry, back to that) becomes a lever by which you are able to elevate yourself to the person you always wanted to be--smart, kind, wise, and willing to help however you can.

i don't want to get into a lot of details, but right now, i feel like i am able to do this for people that i love, respect, honor, and admire.  they are the people who i would drop everything for no matter the reason.  they are the people i am grateful that i will get to be with for forever.  they work hard, every day, to be good people, and they need some support. 

so i will drop everything.  because that's what families do.  and because that's what they've done, and continue to do, for me.  so  will go and i will do all that i can and i will suddenly realize that, sometimes, being an adult is awesome. you get to see the sum total of who you have become and, when that sum measures up to something good, realize that you really can do good in the world just by being you.

that's a table turn that i like.  that's a table turn that makes me even more grateful for the people who helped me become who i am, and the people who are helping me realize that being a grownup can be a really good thing.  

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

a(nother) open letter to students of the world.

dear students,

it's about that time, isn't it? i can see it on your faces, and i feel in in my own to-do list. the panicked rush of the end of the semester has commenced, and with it comes the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth that comes with regret.

all of those mornings you slept in because you did something too late (some say study, and i'll give you that, but sometimes maybe it was a saved by the bell marathon or something...less virtuous).  all those assignments you just thought you'd put off until the last minute, even though i warned you not to, and then realized you couldn't pull it out as well as you'd thought. all the homework you didn't turn in, all the papers you plagiarized.

it's all coming to call, and you feel the hot breath of consequence on your neck.

for some of you, this weeping and wailing is for naught. you came to class. you did your best. you come to office hours. you ask pertinent, insightful questions. you PARTICIPATE in an 8 o'clock class.

you have won me over. i will be kind to you.  as kind as i can be within the margins of a very clear grading structure, that is.

for some of you, you have work yet to do. a last paper, a last speech, extra credit opportunities, a whole host of potential point-gathering activities await you and your holiday weekend and last weeks of school.  you can do it.  i'm waiting to see if you think you can, and if you'll put in the effort necessary to make it so. i'm here to help, but only if you ask.  i hope you'll ask.

there are another group of you, though, who i find utterly and completely perplexing.  you don't come to class at all until a big exam or a timed writing assignment. you turn in papers that are so obviously not written by you that it takes me some fraction of a nanosecond on google to find your misdeeds.  you fall asleep in class when you should be mining it for words of wisdom. you talk while i talk. i find it...all very perplexing.

unless you don't care. and then i don't. and, for the most part, i assume that you don't because your behavior tells me that you don't.  you have far exceeded your allotted absences, for example, even though the syllabus clearly delineates an attendance policy.  black and white, cut and dried, it's there for you in all its glory.  but you're not in class.  you don't turn in papers. you don't seem to care.

i'm down, y'all. i've got 160+ students. i can not care too.  it's not malice. it's not a lack of kindness. it's survival.  if you don't invest, i won't invest. that's just reality.

(you won't find it any different in the big, bad world of Real Employment, btw. bosses care if you care, and then only if you're lucky.)

so what's totally and utterly perplexing to me, other than when you randomly show up, take an exam, but then don't even try to answer the essay question at all, is when you email me something like 10 or 12 days before classes END to ask to meet with me in my office.

because then i have to think you care. and then my mind is blown.

if you care, why do you care NOW? what could you POSSIBLY think you could do at this point to rescue yourself from your self-induced grading abyss? do you think that i'm going to let you retake two exams? grade two missing papers? accept four or five homework assignments that you willfully chose not to participate in? 

do you believe that you can cry and/or be charming and i'll be sold? does that work in your life?

because, really, if anything? this semester has taught me that regardless of what your personal circumstances are, you ultimately have a choice. you can choose to keep your commitments, or you can choose to not. you can choose to show up, or you can choose to not.  and if you cannot meet your commitments, you can choose to man up to that reality, take steps, and adjust your life, or you can run and push your head into your delusional sand, hoping that someone it just won't happen if you just periodically show up.  maybe, just maybe, all will be well.

it's not well, i hate to tell you. and though i hate to be the harbinger of Big Life Lessons, sometimes in my role as dr. teachergirl, phd, that's my job.

so i'll send you a short but polite email back, stating when you can come meet me. it will be on my timetable and not yours, and if you don't show up i'll be annoyed but unsurprised. when you do show up and try to sing me a song and dance me a dance about how tough your semester has been, i'll surreptitiously pat my ever-growing baby belly and think about the first nine or so weeks of the semester, when being conscious and productive was more difficult than doing a triple Body Combat header but how i managed to do it anyway, and i'll think that you always have a choice.

and i won't think it in judgmental, critical ways. i'll just think it in realistic ways. because, students, life is life.  here's what i know: it doesn't get any easier if you run away from it. in fact, it gets harder. you lose the respect of those with the power to help you, whereas you might have really convinced them to be your advocate had you been straightforward, responsible, and communicative.

stop running.  start doing.  look around. people do it every day. and it doesn't get any easier after school is over.  in fact, as busy as you think you are now, it will only exponentially grow in complexity and commitment.  and that's okay, because if you are wise, you will have learned the lessons of how to do it all and, if not do it well, do it responsibly.

that's the greatest lesson you can learn from higher education--not the content of the syllabus but the content of your character, to borrow a great line from a great man.  who will you be when the tough times hit? how will you deal with it? 

i'm often the villain in this scenario, an unfair, unyielding harpie who just didn't give the grade that was fair.  i don't like it, but that's often my role.  but i hope that there are others, somewhere, somehow, who see what i hope they see--that hard work is rewarded, that asking for help works, that second chances are often given to those who need them most, that consequences are a part of life but they're as often good as they are bad. 

that's what i hope, students.  you don't believe it, but i hope that you succeed. i just define that success in different ways than some of you do. 


Monday, November 15, 2010

the list.

so that whole "making a list, checking it twice" deal really might come in handy 'round these parts come december. i'm inordinately excited about the prospect of time to do SOMETHING OTHER THAN TEACHING, even though i'll probably be online teaching a bit during the holidays anyway.

but there will be, you know, no classes to attend.  no need to get in the car unless it's to go fetch something delicious to eat or to go experience the commercialization of a holiday at the mall.

sounds good to me.

so i thought, as i am wont to do with my whole life, i would write a list of things to do during the break. 

1.  make a list of projects to do around the house.

we moved in here, finished summer classes, found out we were pregnant, and then i hit the zombie phase.  about the time the zombie phrase receded, the "i'm teaching 8 classes and am a crazy person" became a reality.

so we still have shelves and pictures to hang and, of course, closets to organize and the Baby's room to figure out.  that was supposed to be an office, but i think the only thing we do in there is print stuff.  i'm still not sure what i want to do in there in terms of an office. it seems counterproductive to have my office stuff in there, since i will likely work when the baby is sleeping, but i am not sure what else to do.

2.  play guitar hero. 

i just heard "carry on my wayward son" on a TV show and now i want to strum it up.

3.  go the movies.

for free, too, thanks to credit card points. i want to see a movie. i also want to buy toy story 3. i'm not certain that both of these things will happen, but i'm going to give it a go.

4.  find maternity jeans that aren't disgusting. 

5.  watch punkin chunkin.

discovery, you have done an outstanding job of advertising this particularly insane special. but i seem to remember watching this last year with my husband's family and being inordinately entertained. with Baby on board, i'm pretty sure it will be even more hilarious.

6. reactivate the netflix and plan for having no cable.

watch all the closer i can before i cancel the cable.  get my queue all ready for it.

7.  boo. i just remembered i have to plan an entire set of online classes.

oh well. that might be fun. i'm going to think fun. what could be fun about this? it's a new class i've never taught before, and i've been invited to entirely steal whatever i want from an instructor who seems to entirely have his junk together. that's exciting.  i have to learn a new online system, though, which should  oh well. something to do while watching all of this tv.

8.  drink hot chocolate under fluffy blankets and cuddle with my husband, who will actually be home more.  YIPPEE!

9.  restrain the grandmas from buying everything either blue or pink in the store once they find out the gender. 

i will do so with some degree of persistence, because i really don't want our Baby to be entirely spoiled rotten, but i am also realistic and know that it's a losing battle.  so maybe a better use of my energy and time is to funnel said grandma shopping into productive, useful things. this, of course, assumes that i know what i want and what we want to have (and what we don't want to have) for the Baby.

10.  do fun Christmas-like things, like going to find lights and going to Christmas pageants and finding fun and creative things to do for free. :)

i felt compelled to do 10, but i really just want a whole heaps of holiday fun.  HEAPS.  are you ready for the holidays? ready or not, it's coming. :) what are you doing? do you have good ideas for me? 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

just keep swimming.

musicboy and i were talking last night about this principle, though no one brought up nemo.  (i'm not sure why, though, since it works well.)

the idea we were talking about was how, even when we feel like we're not doing the right things very well or very completely, we just have to keep trying and keep going.  musicboy said something really good. he said, so long as we are moving in the right direction, that's what's important.

even if we're not moving very fast? i asked, thinking of my own slow progress in anything remotely related to spirituality or personal development lately.

yes. so long as you are moving in the right direction, that's what's important.  there will always be times when we're moving faster than others, he said.

he also said something interesting that hadn't really occurred to me before. he said that sometimes we learn less through knowledge and study and more through experience. like there are times when we are learning how to be something by doing it rather than by learning about it.

(if this seems completely obvious to everyone else, forgive me.)

that struck me really a lot.  sometimes, maybe life presents you with opportunities to learn how to be the person you want to be, how to have the character that you want to have, by giving you opportunities to exercise those qualities constantly.  sometimes it's patience, sometimes it's hard work, sometimes it's faith.  at that point, though, it seems as though Heavenly Father believes enough in you and your knowledge to throw you into the deep end.  that's not an unkind thing. how else can you know for sure that you are learning what you need to learn? that you can put it into practice?

but if you're accustomed to growing through knowledge, it can feel like you're not really moving. it can feel, instead, like you're just doing.

that's how i've been feeling. i know i should be doing more and be doing things differently. i know that i have the capacity, in different times, to study better and to be more diligent.  i want to do those things. but i also know that i've had the opportunity, in recent months, to practice a lot of those things that i've been trying to learn. i've been able to practice diligence, practice patience, practice selflessness, practice self-reliance and provident living.  these are all extraordinary gifts. i just hadn't seen them that way.

i just thought i was really busy all the time.

(and i am.)

but really, what is the point of all of that knowledge if it doesn't fundamentally form your character? if when you get your head out of the books and into the world, you don't recall and put it into practice, what's really the purpose?

so though i am far from perfect, and have much more to do, i like that i'm still swimming toward my goal.  i like that, despite the sometimes stiff current working against me, i'm still moving, fins still flapping, eyes still searching to keep myself on the path that will get me home.

that's what's important--staying on that path. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

things i think about while watching TLC: if sarah palin would prefer to be free in alaska rather than being in some "stuffy old political office" then i am just fundamentally confused.  or, as musicboy says, 'HYPOCRITE.'  he's sort of awesome like that.

reasons why we'll be saving at least $35 a month once football season is over: i think i was a happier, less stressed person when all we had was basic cable and streaming netflix.  while i will miss the closer, I HAVE NETFLIX.  i just need to use the netflix.  USE THE NETFLIX.  somehow it all seems very...clamorous...with regular cable.  also, it's expensive.

my crazyfaced pregnancy freakout of the day: i got on the scale and i had gained something like 5 pounds since i went to the doctor...last week. i am fairly certain that these pounds are not a result of baby growing and are more of a result of me eating not as well as i could (i.e. i think it's water weight and my body reacting to copious amounts of sugar that i've ingested since said doctor visit).  i think it will resolve itself and moderate back to normal levels with some attention to careful nutrition.  so there's that. 

nevertheless (and if you can explain the logic of this to me, you are brilliant and deserve your own tv show), i am thinking that my baby bump is shrinking.  i think this is because the pants i am wearing today are a) maternity and b) already sort of loose on me, but nevertheless, i am elevating prayers that our baby grows.  i am praying for my belly to grow, which i've done before. 

the great gratitude moment of today:  tomorrow is a day off.  i might have a chance to catch up on grading this week and weekend, if i stay at it.  i have felt quite impressed to spend more time with quiet, more time with scriptures, and in the short time that i've been dedicated to that, i have felt more peace and more determination to make good, wise decisions.  i am grateful for those impressions.  they are, i think, the thing that will keep me going over the next month as it gets only more nutty. 

craving update: the fixations are pretty much gone.  i don't really have any cravings right now.  is that weird?

Monday, November 8, 2010


nine hours of sleep does wonders for my attitude about mondays, let me tell you. so does sleeping bundled up underneath huge comforters and waking up to the biting cold in our house.

and i'm genuinely not being sarcastic.  it helps.

we ventured south for a day and a half this weekend, literally the first time we've gone somewhere together for something not school-related since the semester began.  it was nice.  musicboy's birthday was last week, so it was a chance for him to see his family and be celebrated and i got to field a lot of questions about the baby. it was nice, though it was very tiring (i have yet to figure out why). 

on saturday morning, we took a walk around musicboy's parents' neighborhood, which was holding a subdivision-wide yard sale extravaganza.  of course, yard sales mean baby stuff, so we were all on the watch. the one thing that i was really wanting to get was a bouncy seat, the thing that you can put the baby in and when they move, it bounces a bit up and down. sometimes they have a soothing vibrating setting, which i personally think is creepy but there you go. 

i walked up to one yard and there were THREE bouncy seats.  THREE.

(why does one baby need three bouncy seats? two, perhaps one for each floor of your house, i can maybe understand. but THREE? excuse me, rampant consumerism, i'm looking at you and you are ridiculous.)

so we bought one. 

for $3.  and it's huge, so i think even if we have the very Tall Baby that we are anticipating, it will still hold Baby for a good long while.  and then we got scalped on a little onesie for $1. 

seeing the bouncy seat in my parents-in-law's living room suddenly began to make the whole thing feel very real.  then i put the onesie in it, just for proportion's sake, and i realized that WOW.  tiny baby.  big bouncy seat.  TINY BABY. 

we're getting one of those. 

watching musicboy carrying the what i thought was big bouncy seat, and seeing it dwarfed against him, also struck me. 

it's not news to anyone else, but we're having a baby. and i'm shocked at how slowly it's sinking in for me.  the surrealness is making way for the realness, and that's cool. 

and it's cold and it feels like winter's coming and that brings with it a whole host of exciting things, not the least of which is the end of this tough semester and the beginning of the four months of nesting. i'm already planning the list as long as my arm of projects that need to be done before the baby comes. 

because it's coming, despite my irrational worries and superstitious concerns about buying a small piece of baby equipment for a song.  the little flutters in my belly and the irrationally large appetite tell me so, if the growing (and increasingly prominent) bump doesn't.  the heartbeat that sounded stronger, and much like galloping horses, tells me so.  the happy doctor face tells me so. 

as the days wear down and we count down to the holidays, we're also counting down to figuring out who we're meeting in april.  two weeks from now, we'll know. 

it's all just very cool.  i am very grateful. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

post tuesday daze.

ugh. too much musicboy birthday cake, which i made with an actual recipe and created my own buttercream for, which tasted less like butter and more like sugar, but it's a work in progress.  lots of pizza, which was magically delicious and i can only thank foresight and a knowledge of my own lack of self-discipline right now around pineapple and onion pizza for the fact that i got half meat, which i don't like, so that musicboy could eat it rather than me.

otherwise, i would have scarfed the rest of it today. i ate a smidge more pizza and more cake today, and now wish i hadn't. i knew i would regret it but i did it anyway. bad habits, in some ways, have reared their ugly heads. i did, however, take half the cake and freeze it.  i'm hoping that will at least deter me from eating it, especially if it destroys it.

that's way more than i needed to share or you needed to know.  but there you go.

on another note, i dislike elections. i feel obligated to vote, and i try to be informed, but for the most part, here's how it goes. i am an independent, which means that i (dis)agree with everyone.  in a perfect world, i'd be able to find a candidate that best espouses most of my views and vote happily for that candidate.

but we don't live in a perfect world, so i end up voting for the person who seems least likely to wholly screw things up, in my opinion. or i vote to send a message to those who are incumbents.  you may hate me for that, but it's not for lack of wanting to do good--it's because no one, in my estimation, matches my philosophies.  so i do the best i can.

i think that's okay. i am, in at my very core, trying to vote my conscience.  i feel like that's all anyone can really ask of you. if you do that, i'm happy with you.

here's what i don't like. 

i don't like getting on facebook and feeling like i've just entered a political rally that i didn't intend to be a part of.  i have no problem with the messages to exercise my right to vote. i have no problem with people who say they don't care (i disagree, but that's okay). i don't, however, like the pointed messages directing people how to vote--even if it's something like "don't just vote for a party because that makes you UNINFORMED!" or "x amendment is SO BAD. how can you possibly support that?"

here's why.

politics is already divisive by its very nature. it divides people along party lines, along philosophical lines, along vision-for-the-future lines.  most of us, i hope, can respect the other side's right to feel the way that they feel and to exercise their right to have their voice heard. in fact, hopefully most of us can even understand the argument behind their behaviors. 

(i know that i have great respect for the reasoned opinions and viewpoints of others, though i may deeply disagree with them. i don't see my views and my respect for theirs as mutually exclusive.)

i don't understand why we have to make an already tense division even more tense.  it just...bothers me.  i was thinking, last night, that today it would all go away.

but now it's the day of the angry angsting, with people cussing out the people who voted the way they didn't like and criticizing their intellectual capacity.

it's just so unnecessary.  i just want it to go away. in theory, i would like for us all to just go vote (or not), watch the returns, accept what has happened, perhaps make some goals for future elections, and move on without slinging mud and pitching a fit.

i want that world.  where can i go to find it?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

the date is set. the time has come.

the monday before thanksgiving, we have the ultrasound.

THE ultrasound.

i will be totally eating donuts for breakfast to get that baby moving. or candy. or juice. or maybe all of the three, which will certain make me want to hurl, but that baby will be active and squirmy if it kills me.  if our Baby is anything like me, s/he will be shy.  if s/he's anything like musicboy, i'm guessing...not so much.

here's hoping that, for this brief moment in time, modesty heads out the window and the money shot is easy to get. 

(but don't expect pictures of our child's parts to be posted here.  i think that's SUPERCREEPY. i don't really need to see it all. you can, you know, just tell me it's a boy.  or a girl.  you words.  i don't need a little arrow. i have an imagination. also, see earlier comment about modesty.)

i can't believe we're nearly halfway.  so weird and cool.

it's going to be a very thankful Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 1, 2010

an update.

well, i followed up saturday's lack of effort with a two hour spurt of insane productivity this morning.  i gave my local cc students the opportunity to come and talk to me about the papers that are due on wednesday (whew. just remembered to post the plagiarism checker post that i'm required to use) instead of coming to class. 

did i know that few of them would come? yes.  i would have to admit that i did. did i know that NONE of them would come? no.  that i didn't know. i think i used it as an experiment. 

and some of what i thought was confirmed.  that makes me feel better and worse. 

i don't think it's just me. i think it might also be them. i think they might be a smidge less committed than i'm accustomed to. i think i'm okay with that. i gave them opportunities.

heck if i'm commenting on their drafts, though. you had the chance, folks.


so i was in my office this morning, and i just plowed through a set of response papers. it was so lovely.  i am going to try to do some more of that plowing tomorrow in my other office, and then wednesday in my office again.  since i have to sit there like a lump anyway, i might as well do something.

but then people come and i'm all HEYMANI'MGRADING in my head.

i should not do that.  collegetown u students sometimes actually come to office hours, which is sort of awesome.

so, i don't all around suck at life. just a little bit.

tomorrow is my 18 week appointment. i'm a little nervous, though i have absolutely no reason to be.  maybe i'll get to hear the heartbeat again. maybe i'll get to schedule our big official ultrasound. maybe i'll get to learn something exciting.  who knows? 

maybe it won't take long and i'll be able to just get in and out with no worries. 

is it friday yet?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

in which i self-sabotage and watch gleefully from the sidelines giving the play-by-play.

i am nearly caught up with grading.

no, seriously. i'm like 2 sets of response papers and a bunch of discussion board posts away from being COMPLETELY CAUGHT UP. 

(well, if you don't count the stuff that came in late, because of whatever reason, which i don't because they get graded when they get graded and i'm about to tell everyone who asks about it to suck it.)

seriously. i teach eight classes, four of which are online classes. this is a miracle of epic proportions, which can only be explained by MIRACLE OF EPIC PROPORTIONS.

so today, what do i do?

i wake up.  i eat a pumpkin spice donut, my second in 24 hours. the first bite of which was pure pregnancy-induced bliss.  this time? not so much. i wish they made them without glaze.

but i digress.

i eat a donut.  i get dressed.  i take musicboy to campus so he can get on a bus and go to a nearby away game with the entire band.  i come home. i make peanut butter celery.  i think about how i'm kind of tired.  i start the remaining laundry.

i dink around on facebook, i dink around on my email, i make speech orders for the last big speech (HUZZAH!), i make rice krispie treats for the halloween church activity, i find someone to take said rice krispie treats to church because i'm not going but don't want to be one of THOSE people who signs up for something and then doesn't do it because they are lame.

i think about how i'm kind of tired.  i think about how i should probably take a nap before it's gametime.  but then i have to switch the laundry and then i decide that i'm hungry and then i start planning all of the many things i am going to cook and ooh wouldn't chili be good but i don't have any beef hey what about chicken and black beans? then i make pinto beans from scratch (like, i soaked them and then boiled them, not that i created them from dust) and a double recipe of pumpkin bread.

and at this point it because quite apparent to me that, though i have achieved perhaps the easiest thing on my academic to-do list by completing the speech orders, i have done nothing else.  and, you know, that's stupid.


but i'll lose that momentum, perhaps, if i don't do something today.

but then it was game time and i was hungry so i ate a quesadilla with hummus and it was delicious and then i ate some other stuff, because it's not a day that ends in y if my moments aren't completely consumed with planning what i am going to eat next and trying to make wise decisions and also just because i'm hungry ALL THE TIME and now i don't feel like puking every time i eat anymore, so that's nice.

and then i wrapped and froze two mini loaves and a big loaf of pumpkin bread (seriously? SERIOUSLY.) and put the 24 mini muffins in the cake holder (i know.  SERIOUSLY.) and then i made some chicken black bean chili that i might have put a LITTLE too much spice into (i.e. i can't eat it without lots of sour cream and MILK, so musicboy will probably love it) and then there was this pile of laundry that needed to be folded and then i realized it was 9:15 and instead of doing anything productive, i was doing anything but.

including blogging.

but this realization has been one that has been quite clear to me all day. that, despite my best plans and copious to-do lists, it just WASN'T going to happen.

and it's sort of amusing how productive i am in my attempts to do anything other than what i should be doing, but it's sort of sad too, because in the land of what might have been, i'd be practically caught up.

but there's still another hour at least until musicboy gets back, more than likely, so maybe i'll get something done then.

but that pile of clothes isn't just going to fold itself, you know.  and the dishes really do need to be done. 

good grief. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


"not completely certain HOW everything will work out, but nonetheless sure that it will. it always does."

way number one: finding out that the classes that you thought might be entirely on campus will, in fact, be entirely online.  and that there are two.  so that makes five online classes for next semester. they're not the highest paying gigs, but they're gigs that pay the bills. and they don't include any OIOHL classes, of which i am planning to partake mightily until Baby comes.

i worry too much, you know? and every single time i do, i'm always shown, very clearly, that we are cared for and loved and that everything will be okay.

also, on a somewhat smaller but nonetheless nice point: this means that i don't need to dress up and get out and wear professional clothes every single dang day when i'm third trimester.  this means less spent on maternity clothes and more opportunities for me to wear pajama pants. huzzah!

these things are good.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

music widowhood.

i believe i went into this whole wife of a music major thing quite cavalierly, humming and singing with my fingers in my ears, believing that we could totally do it without even breaking a sweat because it was so easy when musicboy was a music major at local cc.

if i didn't know the difference before, boy do i know the difference now.

i mean, i don't think i was so stupid as to believe we wouldn't be busy. i don't really think it's possible to be in school more than full time and have a part time job without being somewhat busy.  we were busy before, though, and it was totally fine.  we managed.  i mean, i complained a little and the house always seemed to be a mess (wow, i'm seeing a trend), but it was manageable.

it's funny how your definition of manageable can drastically change.

i thought it was just the whole marching band and football season thing. i thought that was what was singlehandedly requiring planning dexterity of the highest degree.  10 hours a week and game days will do that. 

but then i planned next semester's schedule for musicboy, mainly because i totally dig doing that and i don't get to do it anymore because, hi, not a student anymore. 

and it's not going to be ANY different.  literally. the only difference is that musicboy will get a later start on tuesdays and thursdays and will only be gone until 2pm on saturdays for work. 

he'll still be gone until 9pm three nights a week.  one of those nights, i may be able to go with him to a church class, which will be nice, but otherwise? it's solid days and solid nights of classes and work.

but towards the end of that semester (thankfully, literally at the end--like two weeks before classes end, if we're exactly delivering on our due date, but more than likely one week before classes end, because that's how we roll), we'll have a baby.

and for the majority of that semester, i'll be very large with child.  hugely pregnant. unable to do things like carry large things down the stairs or do anything massively strenuous. 

the realization of that reality struck me somewhat hard.  it's just not going to get better until it's over.  it makes me share musicboy's motivation to just push through it and get it over with as soon as possible, but it also makes me worried that, somehow, we won't be able to do it all.

i know we will. musicboy, when we discussed this ever-so-briefly as he headed out the door to a recital, said that Heavenly Father likes to make us grow.  i chuckled. it's so true. 

i'm not angry.  just...unprepared, perhaps?  afraid, perhaps a little?  definitely unsure of my own capacity to pull up my metaphorical bootstraps and suck it up.  not completely certain HOW everything will work out, but nonetheless sure that it will. it always does.  lest you read this as all forlorn, it's not.  i'm not depressed about it.  resigned, perhaps, but not depressed.  not even really that worried, so much. 

but i definitely don't have my fingers in my ears anymore.  reality can be quite bracing in that regard. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

dear baby: your dad.

dear baby,

you haven't met him yet, but you have the best dad in the whole world.  how do i know? because he's probably the best guy in the whole world.  he has his flaws--we all do--but his flaws are things like being distractable or not noticing the dishes.  they're not important in any way to the really essential things about life. 

he's probably the kindest person you'll ever know. i sincerely hope you take after him in this way. he never meets a person that he doesn't like. sometimes, when i'm not sure about someone, i ask him if he likes that person and why. when i do, i begin to see that person through his eyes, and that helps me to make a much better decision. see, you'll learn this about me, but i'm not always the nicest person in the world. i try very hard to be, but i have to try very hard to be. your daddy doesn't. he was born to love, and the world is so much better off because of it.

he easily forgives.  this is good for both of us, let me tell you, because we'll both mess up--probably big time sometimes. and daddy? he just takes it in stride. even when we've done something dumb, when we apologize, he takes it and moves on.  he one hundred percent emulates the Savior like that. he will teach you more about forgiveness and repentance than you might think, so pay attention.

and he's fun, baby. he makes life fun, even when it's crazy. i think you'll like how much daddy sees the fun in life and how much he can make a game or a good time out of even what seems like the most mundane, annoying, monotonous nonsense.  it doesn't matter what it is, he always makes it better.  you'll like that.  he'll be a fun dad.

but he's serious about what's important, and he'll never let you forget that.  he'll put what's right for you first, even if you don't like it, but he'll always explain why it's important.  i really like that he can do this, that he's already practicing how to that.  he wants to make sure that you know why we want you to do what's right, why it's important to do the things that Heavenly Father wants us to do.  i love that.  he won't be one of those dads who just says "because i said so!"  he'll be humble and kind enough to teach you--and there's no greater gift that he can give you.

did you know your daddy is ridiculously talented? as soon as you have ears that can hear, i'm sure he'll be playing one of his many instruments in your general direction--or just singing to you. music, to him, is food and air and breath and life. it's what makes him tick, it's what he's best at. just like i love books, and will probably already make you crazy with reading before you even join us, daddy loves music.  some days you might wish that he's be home instead of at band camp, or some days you might wish that he didn't practice his trombone when you wanted to watch TV.  i understand--i've definitely felt the same way at times. but remember what i do: he's extraordinary, and we're so blessed to know someone so talented.  it's a testimony of the fact that we all come here with gifts and talents, and that it's our job to find them and use them. daddy found his, and he uses it every day.  when he sings to you, be glad to hear it.  when he plays for you, be grateful that he's your daddy. not everyone has a dad so extraordinary.

he loves the hugs and kisses, baby, and he loves the idea that there might come a day when you might not love it.  i just have to warn you--we won't be afraid to embarrass you, if embarrassing you means that we show you how much we love you and how much you are treasured. we are also not afraid to use our crazy willingness to do whatever you DON'T want us to do in public, in front of your friends, to make sure you do things our way. that seems manipulative.  we don't mean it that way.  we just...see it as incentive for you to comply with things that you might otherwise forget about. 

say, for example, that you're 15 and out with your friends, and we ask you to call when you arrive so that we know that you're safe and so that we know what time you will be home. if you're anything like your daddy, dear baby, you might forget because there's something more exciting going on. we understand this, but we also want you to understand how important it is to be considerate and to follow the rules, even if you don't understand them or if they don't seem important to you.  so, we might set forth some consequences. other parents might think that not calling would be worth a grounding or losing privileges. we think it might be awesome to just show up where we know you'll be (because we will always know where you are and who you're with) and smother you with hugs and kisses, proclaiming loudly and most dramatically "oh, MY SWEET BABY, we thought you were dead! when you didn't call, we just HAD TO COME DOWN HERE and see for ourselves that you were okay.  oh, baby, we remember when you were born and how you used to do (insert embarrassing baby story or pet name here) and we just COULDN'T not know where you were!"

it's just a plan, but it's a quintessential mommy and daddy plan. be warned. we have a sense of humor, and we're not afraid to use it--and daddy's probably the ringleader of them all.  he's not afraid to embarrass you, to put you out, to make you work, or to give you pause if it means it teaches you a lesson.

i will teach you, every day, to appreciate and love your dad for exactly who he is.  he's a treasure, even if you can't or won't always see it.  that's my job--to show you.  i'll keep reminding you, even when the two of you don't see eye to eye, that you are one blessed baby to have such an incredibly strong and righteous father.

our job is to love him with our whole heart. he deserves that plus so much more.  we'll keep working at it, right baby? 

we can't wait to meet you!

love, mommy.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

murphy's law of teaching.

what doesn't normally happen to you will, in fact, happen to you in the semester in which you are teaching most frequently, causing you to test every element of your teaching persona and all of your policies to the limit and determine, ultimately, whether or not you're any dang good at your job.

in the eight classes that i currently teach the following have happened:
  • people just not showing up for assignments (already talked about that) due to illness, car trouble, and who knows why, but there's usually an actual legitimate reason, which requires me to be understanding and allow for make-ups
  • people falling off the planet and just not responding to emails even though they're still enrolled in my class (at collegetown u, no less, which just...doesn't happen)
  • a major meltdown during a speech which was perhaps the worst thing i've ever witnessed, from an empathetic human side
  • the weirdest attendance requests i've ever heard, including requesting to miss as many as 12 classes
  • plagiarism. lots and lots of plagiarism. and not even good plagiarism. like "i will take the first google search that comes my way and then take the entire paper from that" kind of plagiarism.
  • a whole host of random injuries, including two broken wrists and two torn up knees that required medical intervention which often occurred just before class
  • a whole host of child-related issues, including child-care issues, a child having multiple surgeries, and a child in utero
i  there's only so much one teacher can take before i really start to wonder WHAT THE HECK IS UP WITH THIS SEMESTER?


Monday, October 18, 2010

bullets on a monday.

  • nothing makes me more nuts than people who walk, while a car is waiting patiently to turn right, like they are the center of the universe. i just encountered this on campus, and it makes me nuts. so of course i was, uhm, strongly speaking to the people when a poor guy who really didn't see me began to cross, saw me annoyed and yell-y, and felt bad.  then i felt bad.  
  • jesse ventura looks BAD.  like hard living bad.  like this and hulk hogan are the cautionary tale of wrestling bad.  and yet he has a tv show that looks insipid.  probably gets paid a lot more than i do in a year for one episode.  show me the justice.
  • i'm addicted to pumpkin bread.  and baking.
  • making food ahead of time for the win.  today has been INFINITELY less stressful, and i'm assuming it's because i don't have to think about ANYTHING.
  • i'm contemplating the least obtrusive way of telling my students that i haven't just eaten too many chicken wings at too many tailgate parties and am, in fact, pregnant now that my belly is beginning to look infinitely rounder and is busting out of some of my pants.  i think i might just do it.  i have a plan, but i wonder if they're all just going to stare at me like "so? we don't care." which is fine. they don't have to care. i just don't want them to think i'm fat.  i'm so vain.
  • my homemade jam is like the best thing i've ever had. besides pumpkin bread and apple pie yogurt and oreo klondike bars and broccoli salad and toast.  oh dear.  i'm not very discerning.  there are all of these spaces in my belly book journal thing that ask what i'm craving.  i don't crave.  i just...get on kicks.  like cinnamon and pumpkin and salsa and sour cream.  anything i can include those things in, i am down with.  is that weird?
  • the one kid that just continued to be an aggressive, confrontational jerkweed to me has now turned a corner. i'm not sure it's because i made an aggressive attempt to act as if nothing was wrong and tried to be kind and outgoing to him or if he decided that he was a jerkweed, but every single time he seems decent, it blows me away. i doubt i will ever cease to appreciate it.  it's amazing how your perspective changes.
  • i just ate a snack and i'm still hungry. this is most assuredly musicboy's baby. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

things to do on a saturday other than address the pile of papers that need to be graded.

once upon a time, i told a friend at church that when saturday rolls around, i feel all domestic. i get the kitchen clean, i do the laundry that's piled up all week, i bake something (usually), and i clean up the living room so that it doesn't look like university life threw up under our coffee table. 

when i was telling her this, i said "i should probably make food ahead of time. it might be really nice to be able to have things already made during the week when i just sometimes cry when i think about cooking." she agreed, most strongly, and said that i would feel so productive.

then i read this blog and was at once inspired and totally intimidated.  spend the whole day cooking? have things completely made and then FREEZE them? how does one go about doing that? what, like, equipment does one need for that?

but when i started this day, i felt totally overwhelmed by my life. too much, too often, too little break.  so, of course, i began getting things done.

and, surprisingly (or not), i began to figure out things that i wanted to cook ahead.  something i call mexicubanacos (actually, musicboy coined that term), which is just chicken, black beans, and rice in a homemade cuban/mexican sauce. it lasts me AGES for lunches and it works for easy heatupability as well.  pumpkin bread.  HOMEMADE JAM.  next up is chicken burgers and then preparing the mini-meatloaf for tomorrow and taco meat for later this week. 

i like this idea, that i am preparing ahead. it makes me feel like perhaps life will be a little bit easier, a little bit more manageable.  at the very least, when i feel like my dinner will be cheese fries, musicboy will have something to eat when he gets back from work/school/practice.  that is my most pressing stress at night, to figure out what to eat (or to make sure there's something to eat), and i am happy to have options already figured out.

when i finally get to go to the store tonight, i will also make broccoli salad and wash fruit for the week.  i am just so excited to have FOOD.  food already prepared. food already made.  CHOICES.  no stress of creativity. i've ALREADY been creative!


we'll see how well it works, since i really should be grading. perhaps i can take the time i save doing all of this and use it to catch up.  at the very least, i'll end this day feeling like i have accomplished a great deal, and that's enormously important to my psychological well-being.

because, really, if you know anything about teaching, you know that you are actually never caught up. 


Thursday, October 14, 2010


the third student in as many class meetings has not shown up to give a speech.  as in, let the group down, didn't contact them ahead of time, they didn't know where the person was though they all did have an inclination that said student was unreliable so, bless them, they had very little trouble moving on without that student.

this has never--EVER--happened before to me.

i just fundamentally don't get it.  how do you just not show up? i heard from two of the three. one of them had one of those life explosion moments that involves towing a vehicle and having to deal with that and realizing that it meant you missed your class.  when he offered to scan his workorder to show me, i was like "nah. i believe you." the other was just dumb, but that dumb came on from 2 1/2 weeks of illness.  i'm sympathetic to that, perhaps more now than i have been in previous semesters, because i understand that sometimes when you feel like the awful truck has backed up over you and then proceeded to do the same thing in 15 minute intervals for a week straight, you tend to lose track of things.

so, those guys i can understand.

the last i still haven't heard from and it's now been 12 hours. i'm waiting. i'm not going to chase him down.  if he doesn't contact me, that's 200 points off the top of the grade. gone.  because you spazzed out and never showed up.

while that has to suck, i just fear that it indicates something else about students. they just...don't have their junk together. they are either far too overstretched or far too underslept or far too overcaffeinated to deal well with life.  while i understand this, i am somewhat unsympathetic what with the eight classes and the trying to make life work for my husband, who has no time to do anything except eat, sleep, breathe, work, practice, go to class, perform at various events, and even then there are a few things in there that he doesn't do enough of (namely sleep and breathe), so i pick up the slack for most everything that makes our household run, and trying to grow another human.  in general, if i can show up and keep track of 160+ students with relatively degrees of success, you can handle your small little part of the world.

i just worry sometimes about people.  what's happening out there in the world?


cinnamon.  what is it about cinnamon that just makes me swoon? i've been buying apple pie yogurt as a special treat. it is probably the most delicious thing i've ever eaten. i also buy cinnamon roll yogurt, which is less calories (doesn't have the delicious apple pie fruit on the bottom) and is more protein and less sugar but really just a hair less delicious.  i am currently baking cinnamon bread, which if it tastes remotely like cinnamon rolls will send me into some sort of gastronomical ecstasy, because that's really all i want.

that and pumpkin stuff.  pumpkin bread gets baked tomorrow.  we'll see how delicious that is.

while i've always been a fan of cinnamon, never this much of pumpkin or cinnamon in these quantities.  it's somewhat weird.


we had this spurt of fall weather that was legitimately cold--i wore a sweater to school one day and kept it on the whole day long.  i got a bit warm, but it was okay because i knew the nights would be cold again and i would be out in it. 

then it was snapped away by this regular october weather, which is warm but not humid (which i'm grateful for, don't get me wrong), and nights that aren't really cool enough to throw open your windows and get a cool breeze. 

it's unkind, man. i want that weather back. i just looked. tomorrow night and saturday night look to be quite chilly, so the windows might come back open, but then it's back to the 80s. 

sometimes, when the weather gives me whiplash like this, i forget where i live and begin to resent the lack of fall. i wish it would just be constant, so that i wouldn't mourn the cold weather like i do.

but then i think about how very cold i will be when we're north-er for christmas, and i think maybe it's okay.  i really have no idea how i'll survive the freezing weather unless Baby becomes an internal furnace. in that case, i'd be okay with it.

please note that i just said i was okay with Baby cranking up its role as an internal furnace. never thought those words would ever cross my lips (keyboard?).


all i really want to do is clean my house. like, all of the time. all i want to do is domestic things. i'm sure it's some sort of avoidance technique, as i am quite good at those of late, but there you go. 


i just started reading the hunger games trilogy. it's violent in its subject matter, mainly (there's some description of violence, but it's not horrible.  it's mainly just sad.), but it's compelling and i paid far more than i should for the next two books (in HARDCOVER) just so that i could finish it. it's incredible to me, even now, how well-written books can just absolutely captivate me. 

i don't think that's bizarre, but i just wanted to tell you that if you haven't read these books, you should.

right now.