Sunday, November 30, 2008

I guess it beats crying

I think having to consciously look for the bright spots in each day for my grace post is good for me. Otherwise I might have burst into tears when my laptop presented me with the BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH this afternoon. I'm just sayin'.

Grace in small things, part 2 of 365

  1. The first snowfall; clinging only to trees, grass and rooftops. Pretty to look at but no shoveling.
  2. Fixing breakfast for my sister on her 45th birthday.
  3. Mimosas.
  4. The little girl in Target wearing a red Santa a hat who whispered "Mewwy Chwistmas" when I told her she looked awfully cute.
  5. Safe travels.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Grace in small things, Part 1of 365

Schmutzie has invited us to "Wage a battle against embitterment and take part in 365 days of Grace in Small Things".

As the curmudgeon in me tries to take over at this time of year I thought, why NOT?

  1. For the moment I am blessedly alone in our hotel room.
  2. I am heading to my folks house to have breakfast with three of my four siblings.
  3. I have laughed more the past few days than I have in a long time.

Anyone else want to play along?

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families. I'll be sharing my day with the Saint, the Precious Daughters, my parents and grandmother, three siblings and assorted nieces and nephews. Good food, good wine and a lot of laughs. Hope you do the same!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I was thinking that this is the time of year when “Busy!” is the first thing that pops into my mind when someone asks a simple “How are you?”. Of course I don’t SAY “Busy!”, because isn’t everyone? If I say "Busy!", that will inspire the questioner to spew their litany of Busy!. And really, who has time for that?

So I have lists. I have LISTS of lists. Things to buy, things to stock up on, things to clean, things to pack, things to do. My list for last weekend got COMPLETELY done.

I did a shocking (for me) amount of baking for the debate tournament and dance practice. All the errands got done. As well as a few extra loads of laundry.

With a halfway warm day on Sunday the Saint put the Christmas lights on the house. (Um, NO they have not been turned on, nor has the garland for the front door been put up, thank you very much!)

I took down all of the fall and Thanksgiving type décor and stored it away. Things are looking mighty bare, but it will make putting Christmas décor up much easier when we return from our Thanksgiving travels.

Now let’s get back to those intentions up there in the title. I have a sort of a….well, a kind of um….I suppose one would say a have a dish problem. In fact, I had the best of INTENTIONS to fill up some days of NaBloPoMo with pictures and stories. But once I fell off the NaBloPoMo wagon I saw no point in getting back on board.

Oh lord, this post had a point when I started….Oh, yes, dishes. (You thought I'd forgotten, didn’t you?) For fall I pull out my Metlox California Provincial. Years ago I saw a plate in a second hand shop and found the pattern charming. So I picked up a plate here and there over several years. I have a number of dinner plates, bread and butter plates and a large serving bowl my sainted mother found for me SOMEWHERE. (I'd been meaning to add to this set of dishes, but I just…haven’t. I’ll post another time about why.) I INTENDED to take pictures of said dishes, but never got around to it. You'll have to make do with what I snatched of the Internet.

For fall I merely compliment a portion of my everyday tableware with my California Provincial, so the switch (store everyday tableware and replace with seasonal) isn’t terribly onerous. With Christmas it’s a different story.

Over a period of several years I amassed quite a bit Spode's Christmas Tree pattern. (At a certain point I had to gently ask that folks stop gifting me with more!) Place settings, serving pieces, tumblers, stemware, oy! To say it’s a pain in the ass lengthy process to switch is an understatement. On Sunday I packed up my fall dishes and the Saint brought up the boxes with all my Christmas dishes. I looked at the boxes and promptly fled the house for a work event. Imagine my surprise when I got home and the Saint had done 90% of the switch without me.

So tonight I can tackle some cooking for the big day on Thursday. What are you crossing off of your list?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Job Security, Part One

This past fall I wrote three grant proposals. Two of them weren't huge requests, but I asked more dollars from the funding organizations than we'd requested in the past. I also submitted a proposal for, by far, the largest grant request we've made.

This is the first year that the grant writing has been left entirely to me. I do ask for input and for another pair of eyes to proof read, but these are MY projects.

Last week I was notified that all three grants were approved. All three grants were approved for the full amount requested. The really big grant? Came from an organization that received $21 million dollars in requests the cycle, of which they funded $7 million.

So yeah, I'm a rock star. At least for a few more days.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Running Hot and Cold

Monday evening when I left the office it was "HOLY SHIT!" cold for the first time.

Yesterday morning was the first morning that it was "HOLY SHIT!" cold on the way to the gym.

Today I met my sister for lunch and the weather was so delightful we sat at an outdoor table.

I think Mother Nature is perimenopausal too.

Monday, November 17, 2008

It turns out

There are things that can make a girl's heart sing even when she's on her way to the office on a Monday morning.

I'm just sayin'!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I got nothin' much

Not sure how I feel about today. On the one hand we got a lot done. On the other hand, meh, so what.

I finished up the last of the fall gardening chores.

The grocery shopping got done - including some items bought in preparation for Thanksgiving. So nice to plan ahead.

Then off to the home improvement store to buy supplies for a project at my sister's house. Said home improvement project went the way of most - whatever could go wrong...

We capped off the day by taking an almost thirteen year old car to Precious Oldest (a car that had been at Precious Youngest's disposal) to get her through the end of the semester driving back and forth for her teaching assistant position. Which leaves us with a seventeen year old who no longer has wheels. This should be fun.

Oh please, how long did you think the optimism would last?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Now for some good news

Look, while I realize no one stops by here expecting


farting these

even I recognize when I'm being more "Glass Half Empty" than usual.

So in no particular order:

  • It's Friday!
  • My brother passed the New York and New Jersey bars exams!
  • This morning I submitted the final abstract, budget and report for a big ass grant we got last year!
  • The Saint has been out of town and yet nothing/no one broke down, threw up or caught on fire!

It's the small victories people, the small victories. I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I lost the will to live

And when you lose the will to live, you also lose the will to post. The car? It is dead. Dead as in it will cost almost as much to FIX the car as we PAID for the car. A car we PAID for less than a year ago.

Bitter, party of two? Right this way.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A day may need to pass

I don't have much tonight. It's only Tuesday, but it feels like Thursday at the LEAST. The weather is gray, misty, cold.

We went to two wakes tonight. Wakes for two good women who will be buried tomorrow. Women who left children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Isabelle and Rose lived long lives. Not healthy lives, in the end, but lives without prolonged suffering. They both had what one calls "a good death". That's something to cling to when nothing else is left.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The good...

You may recall we had yet another college visit scheduled for today. In one of our sessions this afternoon I thought one of the panelists looked very familiar. When she introduced herself I bounced up and down in my seat just a little. She was the professor who taught my very first history of art class. She was fairly new to the university at the time and, since I always sat in the front row, we got to know each other quickly.

Her enthusiasm for her subject of the class was so contagious that I took another art history course, and then another, and another, and the next thing I knew I had myself a double major. When our art museum was looking for a new director, she asked me to serve as the student representative on the search committee. She was also largely responsible for the departmental award I received my senior year. I've kept up with her career and family through department newsletters over the years.

I went to speak with her after the session and she's just as warm and enthusiastic as she was twenty plus years ago. Many years have passed since I last saw her, she is the Chair of the department now, but we talked as though I had stepped out of her classroom days rather than decades ago. I have to say I'm still smiling!

The bad...

On to another topic; I am ready to smack a certain seventeen year old. I know she's tired, I know she's stressed, I know she has a lot on her plate. But so help me - the craptastic attitude has GOT TO GO!

The ugly...

I leave you with one last thing. If an automobile engine runs out of oil, guess what happens? I should have prizes for Ree and Susan. I'm just sayin'. *sigh*

Sunday, November 9, 2008

When the phone rings after midnight

it is NEVER a good thing. The Saint and I were getting ready for bed Saturday morningFriday night and the phone rang. It was Precious Oldest - broken down on the highway 40 some minutes from home. She and a friend had gone to a concert and on the way back to campus her car just up and died.

We thanked God she wasn't alone. That no one was hurt. That the weather was cold but not frigid. That we had AAA. A wrecker towed her car to the nearest town and friends came from school to pick them up.

It was only the next morning, after the Saint talked to the driver of the tow truck, that it came to light WHY the car had "just up and died". Let's just say the car will not be "up and running" any time soon.

The Saint drove two hours with a friend (a GOOD friend) to retrieve the car. They rented a trailer and hauled it back here. They left the car at our regular garage and tomorrow we'll have the mechanics take a look and access the damages.

Too bad the money tree in the back yard just lost all its leaves.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

As promised

Campus life in pictures

Rubbing his beak is supposed to be good luck on game day.

We had a great tour guide. She hails from Minnesota and I enjoyed her accent.

We didn't see very many students out before noon

I liked this building and its nod to Art Deco

It seems they made an effort to take elements of old buildings into consideration when constructing new ones

They have a beautiful church on campus

Some of the Professors live back here.

We drove home through a gathering storm.

I have no way to wrap this up except to say we visitMY Alma Mater one last school on Monday. I don't mind saying I'm glad we're down to three!

Friday, November 7, 2008

From the Saint

A bonus funny for Friday:

Yes We Can

Are you a teacher? Where do you teach? A safe suburban school? A posh private school? Your own kids at home? An impoverished school in the urban core?

Are you a doctor? Where do you practice? Private practice? A well endowed teaching hospital? A safety net clinic for the medically indigent?

Are you a volunteer? Where do you volunteer? You kids school? Your son’s scout troop? Your daughter’s team? At the food kitchen?

What do you do with the stuff you don’t need or want anymore? Send it to the landfill? Pass it on to family? Have a garage sale? Drop it off at an emergency assistance center?

You raise funds for charity? You plan events? You write checks? Do you volunteer at the domestic violence shelter? Tutor the refugee children?

Where are your kids going for spring break? The mall? The beach? A cruise? To Appalachia to build houses?

Do you render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s? Do you happily give the federal government 33% of your family’s income? Your state and local governments 10% of your family’s income? Pay your property taxes? Your capital gains taxes?

Do your render unto God the things that are God’s? Do you happily give 10% of your family’s income to your church? Your community? The charity of your choice?

Do you have hope? Do you believe we need change? Do believe that NOW is the time for personal sacrifice?

What are you waiting for?

Thursday, November 6, 2008


We had a good school visit yesterday and I have pictures, but no time to upload.

There are BIG decisions to be made. We've been to two VERY different schools, both with excellent programs in Precious Youngest's intended field of study. We see one more school next week and then begin the discernment process.

Any words of wisdom?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We watched

the election returns in a hotel room last night. Knowing that next year we'll have two kids in college. Though our careful plans to finance those educations remain off the proverbial rails.

God speed President Elect Obama. And God speed to your colleagues in the House and Senate. God speed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Elections and other shit

So yeah, remember me being all "glass half full" yesterday morning? All "Woo Hoo! The sun's coming up before 7 AM!" Um, so I kind of forgot that meant I would be driving home in waning light and that it would be pitch black before I got dinner on the table. Blech.

Did you vote today? I tried to do advanced voting last week but was faced with huge lines every time. Today I went straight from the gym and the wait was only about thirty minutes. I slid into the office just a few minutes late. (Attempt to ignore shitty quality of cell phone picture.)

I'm taking off work tomorrow. We're driving about three hours north tonight as we're taking Precious Youngest to another school for yet another college visit. I'm going to try to remember my camera this time. You need to see all these fresh faced, enthusiastic college students. Oh my!

Now get out there and VOTE!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Fall Back

In addition to the extra hour of sleep I got yesterday, there is an additional benefit to the time change. I've been driving back from the gym in total darkness. This morning? LOOK! The sun was starting to come up! This will only last a few weeks, but I'll take it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Um, yeah I guess I should have used that title YESTERDAY. Posting has been scarce around here. One might even say scant. I'm trying to do better. Perhaps this little daily exercise will help.

So with no further ado, some thoughts for today:

  • We're having another beautiful day. I have outdoor chores that need to be tackled and I'm going to enjoy them for the simple fact that I'll be outside a warm, sunny day in NOVEMBER.
  • I still need to go to the grocery store, but I think I can get the Saint to go with me. HE can stand on line at the deli counter and the meat counter. So much more efficient for ME that way!
  • Oh, we had a lovely walk yesterday. Precious Youngest DID squeeze out a few moments for her poor, old mom!
  • Can anyone tell me how to convince a seventeen year old the Heath Bars are NOT breakfast food?

That is all.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Fall has been so beautiful this year. Warm days and cool, crisp nights. The trees are absolutely gorgeous. I'm gonna sign off and make the Saint take a walk with me. If I'm really lucky, maybe Precious Youngest will come too. A girl can dream can't she?