Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hope for the future...

So this is a Mini Cooper. A Mini for short. I stalk them. I call out to my family when we pass one on the street. An obsession? you may well ask. Yes, perhaps, but only a little one. When I finally finish my degree I get to go in debt up to my eyeballs and buy a Mini. Theoretically, that should happen sometime this decade.

Meleah and I went shopping today. The annoying thing about that is that the younger two had to tag along. I don't mind them tagging, but they whined. I hate whining.

Meleah spent some money on clothes to take to church camp next week with my parents' church and to Baltimore the following week. At least she can wear shorts to Baltimore. Bless her heart, she is heading for Hot Springs for a week of wearing dresses and capri pants. I do not envy that...

Back to the shopping though, Meleah did an excellent job picking through what was available to find really cute clothes that were marked way, way down. Today we went to shops frequented by her friends. Normally, we shop at Kohl's, Penny's, Target, TJ Maxx and Old Navy, along with the thrift store down the street from us. And manage to not have her looking like everyone else. But today we went to Cato and Rue 21, which had cool stuff. And they had much stuff on sale, which helps our shopping experience.

Speaking of Baltimore, Meleah figured out just how little liquid is allowed in carry-on luggage (which includes hair products and cosmetics). That may inspire her to have to check baggage. Personally, I am hoping to totally avoid checking baggage since it is such a short trip. I believe that I can get everything I need for five days in a carry-on. Meleah, is not so convinced. (I do think that I will have to take a real suitcase to Virginia, though. Two weeks of living out of carry-on is too much even for me.)

The big kids are testing at Karate tonight to see if they get stripes to wear on their belts to indicate that they are complete novices no longer.
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Tuesday, May 29, 2007


We gave away some furniture today. It was lovely furniture. Nice dresser and chest of drawers. But we simply did not have room. The furniture was seventies-era boxy furniture and we live in a 1920's bungalow. The house really has only 1460 square feet. Related to this give-away is my decluttering. Christopher Lowell says 7 out of 10 people have too much clutter. (I would like to know where that statistic came from, btw.) I *know* that I have too much clutter.

Clothing is my nemesis. I cleared out Olivia's 4T clothes today-- at least most of them. I am not even trying most of it on her to see if she *could* wear it one more season. I am just taking it to Katie. I have a kitchen trash sack half-full of clothes that just do not make me feel happy when I wear them. And I am giving myself til when school starts to get my weight back down or I am going to start getting rid of everything that does not fit well. Or that I just do not wear. I love clothes. Really. Love. Clothes. But right now, I have too much of a good thing...

My house continues to cause me stress. I would *love* to have a tidy house. I don't see ever having a home like my aunt, that always looks company ready. I do need, though, for it to not look like one of my children exploded in my living room. I do need to have enough of the mess contained that "finding the floor" can cease to be one of my hobbies. I need to be able to sweep without being a major production.

I made W clean up his room today. That was mildly painful. And he will need to clean his room again tomorrow. Finding the floor is a major part of what he will be doing. Next I need to nag Meleah. Her room is bad as well. She has no floor. Only clothing. Like her mother, she also likes clothes. Also like her mother, she has *way* too many of them.

On a brighter note, I received my paperwork to accept my fellowship for this summer, so it is all official.

Monday, May 28, 2007

New toy

We have a new toy. Rather, Todd has a new toy. We bought a second-hand eMac today from a co-worker who is retiring. This will be *his* computer, since I swiped the desktop that I built in the fall. (I needed it for class ; >) He is ooing and awing overing it right now. It is beautiful.

Todd went to pick up the big kids, so I have been playing on his new baby. Right now it is importing video so we can play with the new iMovie (okay, version 3, but newer than my baby Macintosh iBook...). iLife is software that we will upgrade sooner rather than later, I am certain.

I primed our cabinets in our kitchen so I can paint them. Then I need to paint the walls. I am pretty sick of renovation at this point. We are getting the house appraised next month so that we can start making payments (oh, joy of joys), but also so we can also quit buying building materials. So that will actually come out to be close to a wash. I love the way old houses look, but I am so sick of repairs that I could cry right now. When we get our closet project done, then we have to fix our bathroom. Fix is not a strong enough word, I am afraid "gut" is probably the more accurate word. We *have* to have a new bathtub and toilet. The old ones are just not salvageable, since they leak. Then of course, the new tub needs a shower surround tiled, and the floor replaced. All before the appraiser comes. *sigh*

The house needs new siding and a new furnace and air conditioner. But those are not on the top of the triage list, at the moment.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


After a long fight with Miss Olivia, we went to the 11:00 service this morning. We so did not make Sunday School. We did have to stop by Kroger on the way home, and bought bread and milk and cheese and ham... Then we came home and made sandwiches. We're heading to RiverFest this afternoon. Marshall Tucker Band is playing tonight. The Georgia Satellites are playing before that, but without their original lead singer. So who knows how that will be. I wouldn't mind seeing Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, but I don't know that I will be able to talk Todd into it.

Anyway, Todd is about ready to leave, so I probably ought to change out of my church clothes...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Reunion & Kittens

Today was our semi-annual family reunion on my dad's side. I go to all of them for a number of reasons. One is that it makes my dad insanely happy for us to show up. Two is that I *really* enjoy some of my cousins; Joshua, Bobby (and his wife Dana), Amanda, Austin are some of them that I especially enjoy. Three is that this branch of the family reminds me why I am politically more liberal than I am socially. I see people who work, and work hard, but who find it impossible to get ahead. Some of them do not work as hard because they have learning disabilities, and they are just not on an even playing field. Reunions keep me humble. They remind me why I believe immigration should be limited. Many of the people there today are competing with illegals for jobs. And sometimes losing.

Gwen's kittens escaped-- or Finn dragged them out. One way or the other, the four kittens were in our back yard. I have a favorite-- she is a tortoiseshell with a little orange tiger stripe on the top of her head. She is independent and smart enough to stay out of trouble. I am really enamored by her. Her I am keeping. The rest we'll give away. And we have to get their mama fixed. We don't need kittens every year!

The big kids are at my parents. They were devastated that they might not get to help with the cattle vaccinations this weekend. Which amazes me. Then my parents have promised them a trip to Silver Dollar City to see Ricky Skaggs afterward. They are not overly impressed with that idea, even though Skaggs does a good show (and I abhor bluegrass). They just want to spend time with their grandparents. W is not going back to school. They are done with the academic bits, and Arkansas does not retain students for missing too many days like Missouri does. Meleah is also done, but wants to be at school next week to socialize (even though her boyfriend is out of the area).

Friday, May 25, 2007


We survived the party-- actually, it went far better than I expected. It went as well as I possibly could have hoped. Leonard made balloon animals for all the kids. We had plenty of food (and Todd did a great job cooking burgers and hot dogs).

Nearly everyone we invited came. Seriously. Becky couldn't because of her aunt is not doing well and Phil wasn't able to come. Otherwise everyone was there. The grownups ate; the kids played. Then I fetched the kids and they ate. And then they were off playing again. I had to go fetch them again for cake and presents. A couple of people had to leave, but the kids were playing again. I loved loved seeing the kids play and have so much fun.

Getting ready

The party is this afternoon. Now all that I have to do is somehow get to the park with everything I need to feed everyone that is coming.

Ice cream is still in freezer. Burgers in fridge. Those are important components. Baked beans are in the oven, ahem, baking. I still have to pick up the cake, then it is off to pick up Meleah from school.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Birthday Party

So, to appease Olivia, I told her that we would actually have a party. And I actually emailed my friends to invite them and their kids. Thinking, who would come on a Thursday afternoon with three days' notice?, I invited all my friends. Well, shockingly, almost everyone was free. So, like, 30 are saying that they are showing up for our party. A lot of those people are kids. Like 13. This is totally out of hand. I really cannot believe that no one has anything better to do an a Thursday. Maybe they couldn't get the hang of Thursdays either.

I have done all the shopping and put together treat bags. I have tons of chips and sodas. I have meat. And potato salad. I need to make slaw to go with it... And tomorrow I'll pick up the cake.

Tomorrow is the last day that W's teachers are collecting grades. Friday is the last day that I am taking him to school. The last week (after Memorial Day) is scheduled to be activities anyway, so he won't be missing out on education, really. And he will be missing lots and lots of unstructured, under-supervised time that is just waiting for him to get in trouble...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pretending I have readers...

My computer dried out, eventually. The trackpad is still a little sticky, but serviceable once more. If I can just get W through this week, all will be good. Next week is all "enrichment" and I am just keeping him home. It is just not worth the hassle.

We got our new phones in, and I discovered that I do not have bluetooth on any computer in my house. So I am going to have to buy the stupid communication kit, at some point (possibly when the rebates come in), but in the meantime, I bought a Billy Idol, Generation X era, ring tone... "Dancing with Myself." I filtered out a lot of more risque music... No "Pour Some Sugar on Me" accidentally going off at work, thank you very much.

I went to the post office this morning to attempt to acquire some correct postage. This is easier said than done. All the stamp machines were broken, to one degree or another. The one cent machine was not giving change... fine, I thought I would just live with 25 1c stamps. But no, alas, the machine would only dispense up to 10. Fine, I thought, I could donate an additional 15c so that I could mail my bills. So I am tying in 10, the stupid machine gives me 1. One one-cent stamp for 25c. That is not enough for me to mail my bills, however. (One bill is for $1.08-- it is almost costing me as much to *mail* it as the entire bill is!) So I feed the machine a dime... And request 9 stamps (see, I am learning) which I received.

Because I am a complete masochist, I agree to throw a birthday party for Olivia. She has been wanting one since last fall, when we attended Cindy's kids' party, then demand quadrupled when her friend Ashton had a party. So. There we go. I have invited 15 kids-- those numbers do add up fast. Only 8 have RSVPd so far. But I also invited all the kids' adults. So we will be having lots of people. And truthfully? I'd rather just have my friends-- the usual suspects that show up for lunch, but the wishes of the 5 yo should probably be satisfied on her birthday...

My birthday, on the other hand, will have grownups. A very few, well-liked grownups.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Now for the Not-So-Good-News

W was suspended three days last week for fighting. He was not being supervised closely enough, but that is beside the point. He was out of school Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and it was close to noon on Thursday before I got his homework packet. I picked that up and took him and Olivia with me to work on cleaning out my office (which I have to vacate). So I got him pencils, paper, etc to work on his homework. What did he do instead? Read on that Robert Jordan book. So Thursday was wasted. Friday I stayed home, so he would work. Did he get done? Of course not. Same story, new chapter for the rest of the weekend. Sunday we insisted that he finish. Meleah sat down with him. She was sitting at the table with him, helping him find answers to a study guide, and he had a tantrum. In the course of this tantrum, he dumped a glass of water on my keyboard. The computer went dead.

For the next two hours (gosh, that seems like longer) we inspected parts, removed the battery, dried out everything that seemed as though it could be dried. We blow-dried the keyboard. We looked up reassuring websites that said that computers could recover from a dumped glass. We looked up battery prices. I looked up new laptop prices. Etc.

Finally, however, the laptop came on. It currently appears to be working, thank heaven. Now I do not have to go cry to IT tomorrow about how my aspie kid dumped water on my computer and is there any way that is covered under warranty?

The rest of the weekend was fine. We went to the Eddie Money concert in Harrison. He played his hits, he played a couple of tribute songs, & some new stuff-- All in all, it was a nice show. We nearly froze out, though, as it was about 48 degrees in Harrison last night. And we were dressed for summer. Shorts, sleeveless tops, sandals... Mom fished out jackets for us to wear and we did have lawn chairs. We took a blanket for two of us to sit on since we forgot our chairs and Mom and Dad did not have quite enough to go around. Yet still we froze. But we stayed anyway. By the time we left I could not feel my toes, but it was a great show, and at $15 a ticket (and even that was a gift from my parents) a bargain.

I saw one of my Core I students there with a bunch of his friends. I was impressed that he spoke to me with my entourage in tow and his friends in view.

Friday, May 18, 2007


I just found out that I was awarded a scholarship for summer school!!! I am ecstatic. Now I don't have to depend on student loans. (which I have enough of already). They are promising paperwork and details next week.

In other news, I got most of my office cleaned out yesterday. I have another hours worth of picking up and carrying upstairs yet to do. Next year, I get a table. Not a desk, not an office. A table. I am hoping for enough floor space for a file cabinet and a bookshelf (which I will have to provide for myself...).

On a more encouraging note, I went out to lunch with Craig. That was cool. We don't see each other enough. I really should have invited Willie along, but didn't think of it in time.

Last night, we ordered new phones. Todd is getting an LG CU400 and I am getting a Samsung Sync, which has a lousy camera, but does everything else I want it to. I am much more worried about call quality than camera quality. We may need Datapilot to take advantage of some of the advanced features. But I think I will see what comes in the box first. And my Mac has Bluetooth, so it will play nicely with the Mac without additional cords.

I need to put the elastic in the capri pants I made, and maybe cut out another blouse. I am really happy to be sewing again. I at least have to make up the fabric I bought last week. If I make everything, that $90 is a bargain. If I let it set, then it is a colossal waste of money :-)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Quick post.

This Altered Clipboard looks like something I might use. Right now, though, I have to go pick up W's assignments and pack up my office.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Scrappers Challenge

Okay-- some of my friends make fun of scrapbooking. Scrappers over -document, soccer mom activities, etc.

I'll admit that it has elements of offspring worship. And I don't see how some of these women can be "so" in love with their husbands, warts and all. But regardless, I enjoy scrapping. I like playing with pretty paper and telling stories that my family enjoys. I try not to over-document-- I can't really. I don't have the attention span to document all their milestones. I am not obsessive enough to follow them around with a camera, trying to capture that first whatever. But I do have to admit that my scrapbooks are full of pictures of my children and my niece. I do try to tell stories instead of writing huge rapturous litanies of all the reasons theirs are the most amazing children to ever walk the earth (or float above it, according to what some scrappers write!)I said all that to explain this. Rockester posted this information on her awesome Scrapbookers Challenge list-serv:

Oral Histories - Interviewing Relatives

Posted by: Rockester, Wed May 16, 2007

There are lots of guidelines and helpful sites on this topic of what to ask them [relatives]

The May challenge is to scrap something about ourselves. I may actually do this:

The Real Me (20 page ideas):


1. Intro page (Name and photo) My name means...
2. History of Me
3. My family
4. My Home (actual residence)
5. My family history (you, your parents, your grandparents and great grandparents)
6. I love
7. My childhood memories
8. My biggest fears
9. my proudest moments
10. Happy me/how I spend my personal time
11. I hate/pet peeves
12. Dreams/Goals
13. Character Traits/My faith
14. Work it (job)
15. Changes I'd like to make
16. My purse, My haircuts, My artwork
17. My quirks and secrets
18. My Music
19. Special someones (and why)
20. Laughter/ my jokes/ humor

Headache & Nausea

I spent the morning with W's principal. Always my favorite way to spend a day. The bright spot was that my lawyer friend came with me and sat with me through my trauma.

Yesterday I booked (and paid for) my tickets to Meleah's history day competition.

And even earlier this morning, I emailed to see if not hearing from the scholarship committee meant that I don't get a scholarship. (It does not).

And now, I need to go find things. Possibly my least favorite activity. After cleaning. But the worst part about finding things, is that cleaning usually must be involved, for some reason that I cannot fathom. I am actually guessing that divine hatred is the reason. Or at least divine apathy. Some divine intervention would really be appreciated at this point.

And I still have to go pack up my office...

Edit: This weekend is looking good though. One of my favorite people is getting married, and I can only wish him happiness. And I am going to a concert in Harrison. I love concerts in Harrison. They happen so rarely that the attendees are really polite and attentive. No illegal substances (or at least very few-- and they are usually consumed discreetly), no pushing. I go with my parents and my kids and we have a ball.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Short Update

Found the cord and the resume. Todd has a job interview tomorrow at a different school in the same district.

We have bead board paneling in half of the closet. Which I have painted. And painted. No exaggeration; I have painted four coats of the same color on parts of it. And after I painted the dark green paint on, I decided there was too much green, so I repainted the part above the trim white again (hard to explain without a picture...)

This afternoon, I am meeting with a friend to talk about how he could decide to go back to college. He's really smart, that is not a problem. College is just really boring sometimes (see, I do notice) and I am not sure how well he does boring... Oh, well, that is for him to decide, not me ; ).

The Vintage is done and as we speak being printed to be mailed out. That was more work that I thought it would be. And I have signed myself up to do it again, next fall. Aarg.

I am sewing this week when I am not painting. I made myself a wrap top and a pair of capris. I made Olivia a dress and a doll dress to match. I like sewing. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment. I should, however, have been cleaning out my office. That activity, on the other hand, fills me with dread.

I bought my tickets to go with Meleah to Maryland for her History Day competition. Wow. Those. Were. Expensive.

We were supposed to be notified about our scholarship applications yesterday, but we weren't.

Well, it is about time to go pick up my children, so I am off.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Semester over

I finally finished figuring grades. Now for the inevitable round of emails-- why did I get the grade I deserved instead of the grade I wanted???

I hate that. Some students that I genuinely like are not getting the grades they want. That does make me sad.

Semester is over though. I think next semester I am going to require more revision again. Students hate that. And contrary to popular belief, I do not set out to make students miserable.

I need to find the cord for my external hard drive so I can find Todd's resume. Then I need to go to Home Depot and get some paint so I can paint the inside of my closet and my bedroom. I have a scrap of wall paper that Walker excavated from the wall during the demolition that is has a beautiful dusky green background that I love.

This weekend, Dad came down and helped us with our project. In the meantime, I worked on getting the closet ready. We removed everything from our closet. All the clothes, shelves, everything. Now what was in my closet has exploded all over my house. It kind of looks like I am having a garage sale in my living room. This will get better soon, I am sure. Todd has promised tonight to get the sheetrock and paneling that we need to finish out the closet so we can get hanging bars back up and have a closet again. And I may have a garage sale as well, next week.

I think I am going to go eat lunch now. Maybe better blood sugar will help my outlook on life.

Speaking of home improvement...

Saturday, May 05, 2007


I have been to Lowe's or Home Depot four times today. I have bought and returned and bought and returned.

Long day.

Last night I went to the Honors Senior Banquet. I looked out and some of the best students on campus and saw how many I had taught. And I was amazed.

Today, I went to graduation and looked through the names of people who graduated with honors. And I taught several of them, too.

Of course, no one working at graduation could tell me what side I was supposed to be on, so I went to the wrong side & walked out with the College of Education instead of the College of Fine Arts and Communication. Five of us actually did that. I need to go in and explain that to my department head. Some days...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Today was better

I went in and worked in my half-empty office for a while before my 11 am final. Then I walked a grade change over to Honors and visited with Phil for a bit. I am deviously trying to suck him into the cult of composition studies-- even though he is a history of technology person. But I keep trying.

I am now done with all my finals and most of my grading. Now I just have to figure those nasty grades. I am *not* looking forward to that. I wonder if anyone would notice if I just gave everyone A's? Probably not, but that really would not be ethical...

I just got my grade from my second class-- and it was a good one. Good grades make me happy. Bad grades make me disappointed in myself. All things being equal, I had rather be happy than disappointed.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Semester ending

I have been sad most of the day today... That just doesn't happen that often.

Today was a day of goodbyes. Tammy moved out of our office (and I have to move out next week). I had to talk to Olivia's childcare director yesterday about a date to pull her out. I met for the last time with my 8:00am State Hall class. Most of those people have been in my class all year. I had them in both Comp I and Comp II-- this is the first time I have taught the sequence in order. It was wonderful to see how they grew as writers as the year went on. Several of them told me how much they enjoyed my class this morning. So all I have wanted to do all day is just cry.

Today was my Honors final, too. Most of the students did really, really well on the final. That makes me happy. But today was my last day with them as well. And my last day with Magi as my assistant.

I snagged Tim as he walked by my office to ask where he is going next year. He got a nice funding package at University of Tennessee's MA program. That makes me happy. And my assistant from last semester, Samantha, got a really nice funding package from Kansas (as did her fiancee). They were in my classes my first year teaching for Honors (they were sophomores, and so smart they were intimidating). Now they are leaving, too.

I thought I would be happy to see the last of this semester. And I am, truthfully. This has been a difficult, frustrating semester. But I really wish I had more time with my students.