Sunday, June 24, 2018

YES to that

Good people of the interwebs, I know...it's been a while.  All I can offer is all I'm going to tell you about here in a moment.  But first let us begin with the fact that my fingernails have NOT been painted a delightful shade (mixture) of glitter/pink.  I had high hopes of achieving this first before starting out, venturing forth, and carrying on with any blogging or posting.  But the mentality that I've been abiding by of late is that when I say YES to one thing, that means that I say NO to another.  And right now, I'm saying YES to writing and NO to working on the Younger's Harry Potter puzzle which her mother graciously got her for her birthday, knowing full well that she would get to do a decent part of it because 500 pieces, people.  

And I'm also saying NO to glitter/pink fingernails.  For right now.  I have high hopes for tonight, though.

I'm also 3 days behind on reading the newspaper, which is both the story of my life and crushing my soul.  I only get the paper from Thursday-Sunday, and I can never keep up.  Because I'm saying YES to other things.  I think I need to cut the cord and say NO to the newspaper.  I tried that once, but those newspaper sales people are very persuasive.

Back to the "It's been a while..." beginning.  It has.  School took a couple of sharp turns for the mountain of grading and for the scary.  That basically consumed 4 of the best weeks of the year for me, which is standard fare, but still, always a bit sad.  And then we spend the month of June digging our way out and uncovering the furniture and corners of the house that magically sprouted piles of everything that was cast aside for those 4 weeks.  I also have 5 rooms to paint and a new course to plan for on top of 2 course that I'm teaching this summer.  I needed a mental break and didn't allot for one, knowing full well what I was doing.  Someday, I'm going to grow a backbone and say NO because I'm not saying enough YES to me.  And in other news, by the time we reach the end of the fall semester (the next time I"ll have a break in grading), I'll have gone 18 months with exactly 2 weeks off that had no grading.  OY.  

So school stuff was scary there at the end of May.  There was a school shooting 5 minutes away from me, 5 minutes away from our girls, in the middle school in our school district where our girls will go when they're each a bit older.  And now I know what it feels like to be involved in that situation.  I was there at the triage sight, helping to reconnect 1300 middle schoolers with their scared parents.  My students were on lockdown for 4 hours with other teachers throughout the school.  I was on my prep time and didn't have a class at the moment, so I was fortunate to be able to help the parents.  And I saw my face in their faces.  I saw my daughters' administrator and guidance counselor and speech therapist.  I saw teachers from my school working steadily and without break.  I fielded texts from my husband who felt helpless 45 minutes away.  And our school system made it through like champs, but my word people, the mental scars are fresh for many.  This will carry on and continue to be part of the national debate.  We'll continue to drill and have meetings about safety, as we should.  And my heart just hurts.  We have no intention of removing our children from the public school system; we're thrilled with the environment that they have been a part of here.  Despite the way it ended, four days before the end of school.  Despite whatever bitterness and frustration that kid must have been feeling.  There are good people who do good, good things for my children every day that we cannot match.  And this is our new reality no matter where we are.  So instead of wringing our hands and fretting "Please no, please no, please not us..." we step up and work harder.  I could write more, but I'm not going to.  Because it's been a while, and this isn't what I want to say YES to right now.

I want to say YES to talking about how the Elder and the Younger each had birthdays.  And how my oven managed to make decent cakes for each (oy oy oy, I loathe my oven).  And how our air conditioner putzed out for most of May and half of June when there was no spring but only mid-July heat.  And how we read The Doughnut Fix together with the girls, which is a brilliant read for kids.  AND, how my boys are leading their division for the first time in years (though we still get beat up by the weakest teams...go figure).

We also said YES to an late addition, 4-day hiking & cabining trip the very first day that we could following the end of school.  We hiked all of the trails, which turned out to be dramatically harder than our girls were used to.  The Elder grumbled at the beginning of each one (it turns out, she did all of the miles in shoes that were 2 sizes too small because end of school and parents who are teachers and why-can't-she-let-me-know-prior-to-leaving-on-the-trip-that-things-didn't-fit-anymore?.  But then as soon as we got going, each and every time, she was all "Ahh...nature" and 'I'm going to sit on that log over there and stare at the waterfall for at least 20 minutes because nature" and "This is my favorite trip that I've ever been on because NATURE."  It was soul soothing.  We're strongly considering springing for some tree houses come Fall Break to go back for a different hit of NATURE in a different season.  Plus, who doesn't love a good tree house (with a hot tub)?  The Elder took it as her personal mission to be the mountain goat guide for each trail, and fearlessly, she led us well (though she didn't knock down nearly enough spider webs, what with her height disadvantage and all) until the last trail when together, she and I managed to lead the group astray.  There was a lot of mud, a logs to navigate, and one moment of dropping the Elder face down in a particularly  slippery, touchy situation.  But it makes for a fun story that I'm sure the Elder will repeat frequently.

So all of this has brought us here, a couple of weeks in but not enough weeks left.  The Younger is making puzzle-sounds in the next room, so with the lickety-split summer feeling fresh in my mind, I'm going to say YES to wrapping this up and go crouch beside her while we figure out just which pieces comprise Ron's and Hermione's faces.  YES all day to that.     

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

And then there was BRUNCH

It turns out that when one hypothetically updates her blog every few weeks, one probably has a blog post all planned out in her head that seems to become stale and old news given the rapid acceleration of time between the hours of 6 AM and 10 PM every single day.  And then, hypothetically, one might write the same blog post twice because it's been a minute and one didn't realize that one already reported on other things.  I think it was funnier this time.  But I deleted it and started over.  Your loss, I know.
 
Other things are happening around here, though.
 
Por ejemplo.  It turns out we like bathing with hot water as the very best option.  Our water heater went fizzle-fizzle-fizzle-tepid, and because this joint came with a home warranty for the first year, we thought we’d go that route and save mucho dinero.  However.  Saving mucho dinero comes at the price of mucho day-o-s without hot water. 
 
(I do know that “dias” is “days” en Espanol, but I’m practicing a differentiated instructional strategy here that allows me to not ostracize my many readers…probably none of my readers…who took Latin or French or Mandarin in high school and aren’t entirely aware of how mucho the dias actually were.  Muchas gracias, Senora Bloemker, my German-born Spanish teacher who also had perfect English just to show off a bit.)
 
(We’re entering the last few weeks of the school year when I’m caught between “Oy vey, what is another fresh, new motivating tool?” and “Oy vey, do I really have to reflect on my teaching habits and effectiveness for the past year?  I wasn’t the best and wasn’t the worst; I’m probably just gonna slide in there somewhere anyways.”  Hence…differentiated instructional strategies.  Define the term and report back tomorrow with ideas for how I can do this while effectively teaching writing, of all things, more effectively.  Refer to the first “Oy vey…” for reference on the general state of mind right now.)
 
(This is a lengthy aside.  I shall move on.)
 
So the water heater.  It’s sparkly new…as much as that ever occurs with something as BLAH looking as a water heater.  Some things (FOOD), I’m pretty much always OK with spending money on.  Some things are worth it.  If I’m going to lose some dollars, at least let’s revel in the consequence of that decision to spend.  Some things just make me and others around me happy.  Some things (WATER HEATERS) are a drag on my resources and need to just work and stay back in the shadows where I don’t have to think about them anymore.
 
It feels good to check a box for “things it would be nice to use before it expires – home warranty."  It makes the To Do list look more productive at least.  But the house also needs to stop being so “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha…!”

And, we finished reading all of the Harry Potter books with the kids (you can edit some language when you read it out loud if you're as quick on your reading toes as I am).  Here's approximately how the last month has gone with the Elder:  "I HATE this because I love it SO MUCH...please keep reading!!!"  So where do we go next?  Back to fairy books and Judy Moody?  Probably.  Those are always good for a quick read before bedtime.  Granted, we talk about allusion, imagery, characterization, themes, and symbolism a bunch less when we read the fluffy stuff.  But it's like eating pudding for desert: It's probably never your first choice but a solid choice nonetheless when you can't always have that gorgeous slice of triple chocolate crunch cake from the cute bakery down the street that costs $7 a slice.  (I've never had such cake and have no cute bakery down the street.  At $7 a slice, my wallet and running regimen are glad.)

Also (speaking of running regimen), the boy and I ran our first 5K this past weekend.  We maybe signed up for it specifically because they promised seriously soft t-shirts and brunch post-race.  BRUNCH.  There is almost no better reason to run.  It was perfectly pleasant and enjoyable.  The boy probably wasn't expecting me to reply "I thought we already had" when he asked "Are you ready to speed up?" at the 2-mile marker as we pre-arranged.  And to be clear, he was totally trying to beat me at the end.  He did.  By 1 second.  Questionable move, spouse...

But then again...BRUNCH.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

April is a foolish month

So Spring Break happened, and it wasn't such a bad time.  Coming back to my students this week, I heard about my students traveling to Maryland, FloridaFloridaFlorida, Jamaica, and Hawaii (just to name a few).  Of course.  This is the land in which I live now. 

We traveled too, actually.  To a shady little burg on the side of a sand dune that had a perpetual stinkish smell in the air but the distinction of being directly across the street from a train station.  We've been planning this kind of an adventure for a couple of years now, taking a couple of days to take our girls on a train and explore a new space - a favorite of ours.  We had the disadvantage of going when the wind was icy, else the dunes would have been a major draw for us.  But to be fair, the entire northern half of the United States has been similarly stuck in this perpetual winter that is seeping into our souls when we're ever so ready to break out of four walls for even a few lungfuls and a handful of sunshine.

Instead, we had significant snowfall three times in those two weeks. 

But when your intentions are reasonable, then a little snow isn't going to ruin much.  And it didn't, though it was a fair amount of nippy waiting outside the aquarium for the 20 minutes before the doors opened.  But before the aquarium was the train and before the train was the condo (which sounds grandish but was simply adequately comfortable...which means it came complete with WIFI and enough space to spread out more than a hotel room).  Our girls do love a good night away - exploring closets, figuring out who gets to sleep where, and finding out if anything was left from a previous resident in the refrigerator.  And the train ride was perfect - long enough to give them a good sense of what it's like riding on a train and short enough that no one got carsick or too overtly bored. 

And then the aquarium was delightful with awe inspiring animals like beluga whales and lunch eaten looking into the dolphins' tank.  Granted, it ended with a bit of a meltdown, but we knew that was coming and life moved on with nothing more than a small bump in the day.  The weather was vile, though, so spending any time outside before catching a return train wasn't really viable and the others in my party weren't as interested in more exploring as I was.  (Another trip in the making!  Coming back for more good times!)

Here's what I do know: We were staring down a prime opportunity to continue the cultural experience with our children.  Oh yes, good people, this meant 1 enormous DEEP DISH PIZZA.  I had it planned.  One pizza...one train trip home...supper ready after a long day...all would be well with our collective souls. 

Andwegotdonutstoobecausewhynot?

In other words, we were the oddest group of people on that commuter train.

And in other words, hallelujah that we did.  BECAUSE...we got on the wrong train.  And that train was an express train.  And that express train didn't stop at our station.  And I watched us zipping along right by where we desperately wanted to get off.  Lesson learned:  Don't trust the train that comes five minutes early as being the train that you want even if the boy says "Yep, this must be the one and it just came early."  So we accidentally got off at another, more comfortable, warmly enclosed station about 7 miles up the road.  And then, continuing the theme of the day, we taught our daughters about one more, crucial, cultural practice: how to request a ride using Lyft.

Bless the boy.  His first thought was "I'll just run 7 miles back to our car along this busy road in my jeans.  The rest will be all right because they have pizza, a bathroom, and books."  But then he wised up to the way of a world that has this thing called "better technology than just your two legs."

But the girls were fairly well thrilled with our short trip, we reveled in the Easter weekend, and then the boy and the girls packed up again for a couple of nights spent with his sister and her family.  The highlights of this trip included fun cousins, an annual trip to an enormous grocery store with a father who goes a bit crazy when faced with so many options in cheese, chocolate and coffee, and one of our favorite ice cream trips. 

This has become an annual trip since I always have classes that don't perfectly coincide with everyone's Spring Break, so I get some extended time by myself while still bringing home a few bucks and the boy gets to see his favorite sister with some daddy-daughter time. 

So they left and I bought a couch.  I didn't mean to, but it was right there all cheaper than expected with that free-in-store-pick-up gleam in its eye.  And I seem to be firmly of the belief that there isn't anything that I want to buy that won't fit in my car. 

It turns out that a couch doesn't really fit in the car.

But, where there's a determined woman who didn't tell her spouse that she was buying a flipping couch and the threat of having to rent a truck and then backtrack and explain things later, then there's a way to secure it given enough "twine" borrowed from the store that looked, smelled, and tasted strongly of string. 

100 feet of string later...she got 'er home. And in the house.  And assembled.  ALL.  BY.  HERSELF.

Then the water heater decided he was going to stop doing this thing called "make hot water," which means that we are TWO for TWO houses where we've had to replace a water heater within months of moving in.  I suspect there's something going on here among the house fairies. 

But we also enjoyed a few days full of sleeping in until 7, good friends, PJ pants and leggings with hot mugs of coffee and tea willy nilly throughout the day, which is essentially just my ideal kind of situation.

It was a blessing of a mental break, and now we're in for Lent part II: 40 days until the end of the semester...40 days of whiny behavior...40 days of fools and sillies.  There will undoubtedly be a time or two in these next few weeks when another deep dish from Lou Malnati's would be much appreciated.   

Sunday, March 18, 2018

SPRING-BROWNIE-CHRISTMAS-I-WISH



Good people.   

We are less than one calendar week (merely 5 LONG school days) away from the glory that is known as any-break-in-the-world-that-gives-us-all-a-bit-of-a-breather-because-really-they’re-nutters-right-now.  Some people just call it “Spring Break.”  You say it your way, I’ll type it mine.

It is also that glorious, quarterly season when we try to cram as much of the built-up-put-it-off-until-we-have-a-minute STUFF as we can into these handful of days while also doing some unusual activities that other people seem to be pretty excited about.  I hear that others call them “breathing” and “just sitting still.”  Once, I even heard about this odd phantasm that some refer to as “watch a movie together.”  We might give that one a go, too, just to see if it lives up to all of the hype. 

In actuality, the boy watches movies a couple of times a month.  I don’t because why?  It’s literally just sitting there, fretting about not doing anything for 2 hours.  Maybe that’s just me.  But color me compulsive, idle hands do not a happy person make I.  Or something like that.  I probably won’t cross stitch that onto a sampler quite yet. 

In other news…SPRING IS COMING!  I know that means that many a day will still be lambasting us with frigid rain, gloomy skies and windy wind, but my eyes have been on the hurt for some green around this place.  And, here’s a fun thing, when you move to a new house, it turns out that when plants suddenly appear in the ground, it makes springtime things all the more exciting.  It’s like SPRING-CHRISTMAS every couple of days when you find new bits of things sprouting where there was previously no sproutage happening.

But here’s some sad, s-a-d news (the very opposite of SPRING-CHRISTMAS, I assure you).  I cannot seem to be able to make a decent pan of homemade brownies any longer.  I have lost my way and am just groping blindly in the cocoa dust storm that such insecurity creates.  The problems are seemingly insurmountable:


  • I like sugar.  But I like desserts that use less sugar but still taste delightfully sweet even more.  Hence, I always cut the sugar in a dessert by 1/3-1/2.  I’ve been doing this for years without having any problems.  But… 
  • The oven at this new domicile is one part crazy and the other part finicky.  It’s newish and it’s a solid brand, so I don’t foresee having to replace it for years yet (le sigh…).  But it bakes HOT and the stove gets SCREAMIN’ HOT, and for the most part, I’ve learned how to accommodate and such.  But…
  • When you reduce the amount of sugar in a recipe, you similarly reduce moisture.  Apparently.  This, I’ve been told.  (Refer to bullet point #1 that clearly states “I’ve been doing this for years without having any problems.”)  This should result in dry brownies.  Bu
  • To accommodate the loss of moisture, I’ve tried the standard “bake for less time” and “take away an egg white + add another egg white.”  But… (This is the last time, I assure you.)

  • My brownies are still dry.  OY + VEY = LE SIGH.

So this leaves me with 4 options:

1.       Use brownie mixes.
2.       Test new recipes ad infinitum.
3.       Put up with dryer than desired brownies.
4.       Never eat / make brownies again.

Clearly, this is foolishness.  One would think that this “master baker” (pointing thumb at m’self) could throw together a decent pan of decadently fudgy with crackly edges brownies.  It’s only like six ingredients with a little bit of mixing and a little bit of oven time.

So, someone feel free to take pity on me and send me copious amounts of p-e-r-f-e-c-t brownies.  Or, come bake with me.  OR, send me your p-e-r-f-e-c-t brownie recipes.  (orallthree?)

Hear ye, oh hear ye…springtime and perfect brownies we shall soon see (???)!!! 

May-be.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Oh February...You're so funny!

Admittedly, I'm typing this while also watching Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, which has re-entered my life via Netflix at just. the. right. time.  And what is this I see about David Lettermen having his own Netflix-celebrity-interview show?  Coming up next. 

Because this February has been gross.  Downright gross. 

So much Tylanol.  So many swollen lymphnodes.  So much mucus coming out of multiple orifices (not all on one person, thankfully).  So much pain-that-can't-be-described-in-words-because-it-seems-weird-but-"pain"-is-the-most-descriptive-thing-possible.  And then one of my children thought "Things are getting tame around this joint.  What IF I just randomly throw up on the carpet at 4 AM because why not?  I'm really just fine, and this would be a one-offer.  But it could jazz things up a bit."  So that happened, too.

Oy. vey. children.

You tell them and tell them and TELL THEM to please wash your hands longer and please cough/sneeze into your elbow and PLEASE STOP COUGHING IN MY FACE, but they do it anyway.  And then you come down with the walking plague, too, and naturally blame it on them even though both you and your spouse work in veritable petri dish infestations of hormones and bad hygiene, so it's always a toss up where any round of contagion ever comes from.  But it seems like a good teachable moment (or a series of episodes, not unlike a long-running TV show that no one enjoys).

And then when el doctor says "These things normally just run their course in 10-14 days," while you're running the numbers over and over like a missed period and you almost start weeping because you're only on day s-e-v-e-n.  But everyone at the walk-in clinic wishes that you'll have a good day.  Do they even consider that possibility before saying it?  Don't I look woebegone enough? 

But, this mama caught something of a lucky break and came down with a BACTERIAL sinus infection, which, yes to the heavens! yes to ALL that is right in this world! yes yes yes this means antibiotics rather than "just wait it out."  Y'see, I've never crossed over to the sinus infection side, so naturally, it took me an entire morning of wondering why one side of my face was feeling like death and why I took a serious plunge into the abyss after a couple of days on the uptick to realize that dummy, get thee to a doctor place.  So I took a nap and slept on it for a while, cried out pitifully a few times, and convinced my erstwhile child (she who would later pay me back in vomitous en carpeterious) to please get me a fizzy drink with the correct straw. 

So I've been wallowing in escapism via smart comedy.  This is 'bout the only thing that has done it for me this week.  I tried to do a relaxing bath but caved eventually because it seemed like a lot of water to waste so instead had an OK soak (by lapping water over myself on the constant) with a bath bomb that I had been saving and then DUH, couldn't smell. 

Later last night when the glorious meds had begun their job and I felt less like death than I had all day, I folded a load of towels and my legs rejoiced: Free! Free! Able to do that which we were made for & stand!!  This afternoon, I showed off my newly realized personhood and swept the floor AND sanitized every eating/counter surface.  I told the boy that I had done more housework today than all of this past week, and he, ever so seriously asked "Do you feel good about it?" (i.e. "So you're feeling better because this single-parenting thing 'aint no joke?!?!?) but what I heard was the trick question that lies therein.  I feel like those same words from me would have something of a negative consequence if he had answered yes, something like "Good, because I need a break...you can be in charge of everything all afternoon now."  Bless his heart but he's a keeper.  Bless my heart 'cause I'm not sure.  There's never a time when I can't stand to be around my husband less  than when he has the sniffles.  I'm good with living out of and paying for a hotel room for a week if it means his sniffles are not in my vicinity.  Shockingly...he doesn't agree with me.

And so now if the gods of winter have any sympathy, they'll keep the boy healthy and allow us all to move on.  Because taxes..we owe $4000 this year.  I know.  I'm there with you snorting-coffee-out-of-your-nose-oh-that-hurts-SO-BAD.

And February, you have one more week to make us laugh.  You have one more week to try to throw some shade.  But my daughter (yep, again, the pukey one) wrote down a solid little aphorism on a white board and just left it for me to boost.  And a nice dude behind me at the coffee shop put my drink on his tab for me when I was feeling downright lousy and was late to boot but desperately wanted something fizzy because he was a local pastor and felt called to show me some Christian love.  And my other daughter (the non-pukey one...i.e. vying for #1 in the hierarchy today) has these little dance moves that are kinda slow jam meets '70s club scene that just cut through the noise of the day and bring the funny back into focus.  So there 'ya go, February: You're on notice that you've already pulled out meanness but the laughs are still there.  Hall-le-lu-JAH. 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

February Fast

February, I see you coming.  You look all clean and sparkly new to me right now.  You look like a good thing waiting to happen.  I like your style: short and to the point, pretending to ignore the soul crushing bitterness of your wintery depths. 

But I'll take your highs-in-the mid-nothings weather with the chance of snowsleethail and sun for a few minutes here and there.  I loathe your weather but I like your get-to-it determination: 28 days and done. 

That's a reasonable amount of days to do what I have heretofore declared to be a fasting month for get behind me gigantor credit card bills!  This whirling confluence of money-down-the-drain needs to end and NOW.  It's not like there haven't been good reasons for spending money in the last year.
*pre-moving costs money
*moving itself costs money
*post-moving costs a shocking amount of money
*life continues and pretends that you didn't move and, oh yes, also costs money

We've had some expected stuff do its expected thing and happen.  We've had some unexpected stuff make me grumble. And it's a good time to have neither of those happen for a whole month.  So I omnisciently declared to the boy today that February was going to be our return to equilibrium.  If I say it, will it no be so?  I've no faith in my divining skills, but I've got a feeling in the words of the prophetic Black Eyed Peas that this month's gonna be a good good month.

But, I've also said that before.

I declare there shall be no more cracks in teeth that need to be replaced.
I declare that there shall be no more washing machines that leek everywhere only to stop leeking once their replacement has been hastily purchased.
I declare that there shall be no more please-pay-large-lump-sums-up-front payments for a bit of early morning drop off supervision.
I declare that there shall be no more conversations with the boy when he says "We need to buy 4 new tires and we need to do it 6 months ago."
I declare that there shall be no more 3-year-rabies-shot-and-we-should-probably-do-senior-bloodwork vet appointments. 

All valid.  I begrudge none of them.  But this is taking more trickery to stem the tide than usually happens. 

Oh, and our first true winter electricity bill for a 2-story house (read heat-sucking, how-do-we-manage-the-different-temperate-zones?!? house) landed today.  Sometimes I groan when I get a bill.  And then sometimes, I laugh (because the children were around and I can't afford the therapy when I traumatize them with my massive sobbing).  I might have, in all honesty, entertained the thought for a brief moment that maybe we should move back to a more conducive heating situation.  But that would just promulgate the pre & post moving expenses.  So that idea got chucked quickly. 

We're digging this new arrangement, we really are.  The sticker shock is taking some getting used to, so BRING IT ON FEBRUARY.  Hello, darkness...my (c)old friend.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Cheers to you, new year

2017 started out like this.  And color me old and set in my ways, but 2018 'aint lookin' much different.  But here's what I'm thinking this year:

*I really dig the concept of the "word of the year" for people.  Even if that word has something of a negative or lacking connotation like "NO" or "LESS" or "SILENCE," it still screams of introspection and repositioning, which is what I like to believe is what resolutions are all about.

*A few days ago, I was chatting with my person (i.e. once-a-year-for-20-minutes-while-we-do-all-the-prodding-and-poking confidante) about what's transpired since I last came in, and she asked me why I started running.  And who knew...I still don't know.  A year later, I still don't really like it.  But I also don't hate it. I don't enjoy sweat in my face and a shirt sticking to my back and tired, heavy legs.  But it always puts some pep in my step when I have that surprisingly easy, extra long run.  I like the routine and I like that I can feel ab muscles.  But otherwise...SHRUG.  It just seems like the next part of adultish behavior and pulling myself out of the viscous morasse that was the third of my thirties.  It was an ugly four years, and I like me boatloads more right now, so I guess I'll just keep pounding that treadmill pavement and watching some episodes of Property Brothers and Sunday football.  (It also helped that I had a gym membership for DIRT CHEAP through one of the schools that I'm associated with - the perks of being an adjunct wallflower. 

*I need to figure out balance better this year and trust that saying no right now isn't shutting off all opportunities forever.  I taught 10 classes last semester between my full-time gig and my part-time gigs (plural...crazy town). 

*Green tea is what it is, but it's a habit now and so there's that.  I'm still not going to pay top dollar for what is surely better tasting tea leaf bits.  But I am a fan of the citrusy varieties.

*It's OK to spend money on experiences.  We need to do this more.  And, my child needs to get over throwing up in the car on the way to/from these experiences.  That's always a drag.

*I need to take the first step.  No one else is.  I'm too willing to be passive in a new situation and wait for the masses to land at my doorstep.  They won't.

So that's where I'm at - still dipping the toes in some unfamiliar waters and finding them tepid and generally comfortable.  It's been overall delightful to have new scenery and new situations to figure out, though.  We're probably not at our forever solution but rather our next chunk of life situation.  I'm OK with that.  The boy is OK with that.  And the girls are thriving with that.  I'm cheering you on, 2018.  Don't drop the ball 'cause the momentum is on our side.