Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It must be the start of a new school year

It must be a new school year? How, might you ask, does such a statement become apparent? Sit back, grab a beverage of choice (I recommend a latte, but you know, whatever...), and listen to me talk about not much of anything of substance.

It must be a new school year because...

...I'm listening to Pandora more than once a month, i.e. about every night and for a few hours Saturday & Sunday afternoon while trying to make reading scads of database articles more palatable.

...I'm wearing long pants and a sweatshirt. I remember one summer when I was a teenager when I refused to wear jeans from summer's beginning to end, and I succeeded.

...I have no idea what "reading for fun" means anymore.

...I doodle around on my laptop from 3:30-4:00 every day as I drain my brain before starting afresh for the night.

...I wake up before Abby. And we finally had her sleeping until closer to 7 every morning. No mas.

...I only listen to the Braves games as they are on in the background rather than having the luxury of just sitting to watch them. This alone makes me weepy (joking).

...I plan when my french press will be washed so that I can always make a latte before leaving in the morning.

...I grocery shop either at 7 am or 7 pm on Sundays depending on the events of the day rather than my preferred time of Monday mornings.

...I clean rather than do homework, and this coming from a person who loathes cleaning. tomato plants are more or less dead. Mostly, I just forget to water them as they are relatively low on the list of priorities for me right now.

I enjoy sitting outside at night. This is why I wrote a blog right now. I want to continue sitting outside. But, it's now dark and my toes are chilly. In I go...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Screw exercising!!!

I have come to the conclusion that I am entitled to not exercise. Nothing and no one can make me feel guilty any more about my lack of 30 minutes of moderate activity 5 times per week. (I assert this while sitting and eating a small to moderate amount of mint chocolate chip ice cream, albeit the "diet" kind.)

This rant is for the nurse at my old OB/Gyn who gave me a mini lecture and the evil eye when I said that I don't exercise. This is for the parenting magazine that claims no one is too busy to exercise. This is for the really dweebish looking pictures of beautifully groomed, clothed, and toned women who demonstrate how to exercise while standing at an immaculate sink of non-existent dishes. I defy you!

In reality, yes, you can be too busy to exercise. I say this because exercise would be my only "me" time, and at what cost? When I get a few minutes around 10:00 at night, knowing that I have to get up around 5:00 the next morning, I say screw's not a priority. I'm realizing that no "me" time is more detrimental than selfish, within moderation of course. And, I go days now in a row where a quick peck as we leave in the morning and maybe at night before bed is the norm, where saying "I love you" becomes part of the routine after flossing and remembering to turn on the monitor.

I'm so ready to be done with this degree. I may not exercise any more then, but I'm fully prepared to again take on the guilt at that point, too.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


And so the worst month since we've been married continues to drag on, relentlessly. The saga trying to find new child care for Abby has been nothing short of HORRENDOUS and emotionally taxing. It might sound silly, but it's been rough. Coupled with the beginning of school, the whole situation has brought me to tears repeatedly. And I can't quit my job right now with any good conscious or hope of returning to teaching, especially down here. We're stuck with virtually no options except daycare, which we loathe the idea of.

I think, though I've said this before, that we have a solution. Again. For the fourth time. Everything keeps falling through, and it's so frustrating to know that we're really close to putting Abby into a situation that we abhor.

Why would I ever have another child? There's no way...take this times two??? Yeah, like I can afford twice as much for child care.

I'm one more rejection away from seriously seriously giving two weeks notice and trying to beg a job at Starbucks for nights and weekends. This school year can't get over quick enough. Spite.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

This I Believe

School starts tomorrow. Oh goodness. I feel, as I always do, that there's no way I know what's going on with my classes. I am really excited about this new idea that I'm working out to use in my Composition classes based on the "This I Believe" essay/radio series associated with NPR. I honestly fess up that this, like many many good ideas, come from another teacher. However, I will take much of the praise and adulation as I only heard about "This I Believe" from that teacher, not that she gave me any information whatsoever on how she was using it for her classes. Props to me. This better not flop...

As I'm mentally going through expectations and assignments for this project, I keep thinking of what I believe. Here's a sampling:

*pedicures...a simple form of self-indulgence where the money is completely wasted on one's own pleasure
*red toenails...from the pedicure, but not red fingernails, and it has to be that perfect shade
*growing a plant at least once in a while...connection with Earth, life, death
*assigning names that have, child, nickname, whatever
*good food...preferably shared with good people
*patio furniture...for quiet time all by yourself or joined in quiet with someone else at dusk and early morning
*literacy should be a priority in every child's life
*non-gender specific jobs...why must we giggle when a male chooses to be a nurse?
*humans are their most genius (generally speaking) before the age of 6...have a conversation with a grandmother about how talented their grandchildren are

I'm really really excited about attempting this project in hopes that kids will write, and be serious about what they write, without the assignments feeling like torture. This is the point in the semester when optimism reigns, which is as it should be, I believe (hehe).

Monday, August 9, 2010

Jungle Jim's

I'm not one for riding in the car for hours on end with some vague destination in mind (i.e. roadtrips), but I pushed my revulsion aside and joined Ben's mom & sister on a quest for groceries that was not to be ignored. Here is a recounting of our adventures with perhaps a necessary aside first to explain why anyone who appears to be "normal" would go to such lengths to go grocery shopping.

Jungle Jim's is kind of a grocery store/amusement park. I know. What kind of a market is there out there for such a staple/novelty? Apparently, there is quite a large demographic who sees just such a need to visit this place and then purchase copious amounts of...groceries. And I should also note that I rather enjoy grocery shopping almost always.

I had heard about this place fairly recently, within the last 2 years. I subscribe to the Indy newspaper, and it was mentioned in there as a "must-see" day trip. Kooky as it sounds, it's so true! (Jungle Jim's is in a northern suburb of Cincinnati, about 1 1/2 hours from Indy.) I believe that it started as a grocery store but by happenstance and an owner who obviously has a quirky side, it kinda exploded and found some weird sort of niche of specialty foods and global influences. For example, while you're sifting through the shelves in the Thailand aisles looking for vegetarian fish sauce (it was on our list of things to find and we did find it...but then again, I also found and took a picture of vegetarian haggis), you can look up and see ginormous tanks Swimming. Huge tanks. Many fish. Fresh. :-)

So the M-I-L and S-I-L and I loaded up and took off for this place. From Kokomo, it should take around 2 1/2-3 hours to get there. It took us 5, partly because the M-I-L and I went from Kokomo to Marion to pick up the S-I-L first before we could head southeast. And then there was road construction. And then there was heavy rain. And then there was a combination of both with a big dump truck thrown in to boot. It took us quite a while to get out of Indiana. We got turned around at one point as well simply because, well, we were talking. Easy to do, but it only cost us 15 minutes or so.

Finally, around 1 we make it to this place. We wouldn't leave for 4 hours, and we didn't do anything except, again I say with some amount of incredulity myself, shop for groceries. It's bewildering. Where to start first? This place gives guided tours and has maps at every entrance. We saw at least 2 or 3 groups of day campers going on tours, so even kids come to this place for fun!! And because my I-Ls are who they are, the first thing we had to do was find a bathroom, which leads us to the embarrassing point of the story. Right in the middle of the beer & wine section (right beside the Cold Beer Cave) are 2 port-o-pots, the portable toilets that you always find at fairs and such. We couldn't believe that for a store this size, there was only going to be one men's stall and one woman's stall. Really?!? So the three of us stand there debating and are just about ready to send the M-I-L up to check it out when a lady standing beside us, and obviously laughing at us in her head, informs us that it's just the door for the entrance. Indeed, there were lovely bathrooms inside. Color us silly.

I'm blessed to have married into a family that appreciates food and experimenting with various cuisines. At any given time, there also might be one or more vegetarians and/or one or more vegans floating among us. Right now, there is essentially both, so my M-I-L and S-I-L were looking to explore some vegetarian/vegan ingredients that aren't easily accessible at Meijer (which does, really, have a pretty decent selection for such requirements).

I'm cursed to have been married into a family that has the pace of a pack of tortoises. We examined everything, seemingly, in minute detail. Every sign. Every piece of produce. It really took us close to two hours to get past the bakery, meat section, and produce section, and we didn't even look at the meat (other than the whole hogs' heads...ewww). And then we hit other sections that I was less interested in and grew bored with quickly. I was also supposed to stay with them, though I inevitably wandered off (repeatedly), so I was kinda stuck in spots without intent to purchase. This must be what Ben feels like when he goes shopping with me.

But we meandered. We wandered. We skipped the American section completely. Four hours later, we somehow divvied up our goods and paid, and then took pictures. Fun times!! Combined, we spent over $400 (though, luckily for our household budget, I was by far the cheapest date at this party). But we also came away with some pretty cool things: quail eggs, ugli fruit, sweet crisps from Greece, a few cool bottles of wine, delicious delicious chocolate truffles, 25 lb. of sweet, perfectly ripe peaches for only $15, truffle infused olive oil, the aforementioned vegetarian fish sauce, dessert hummus, honey that has a slight flavor of butterscotch, and more. Much more!!

Thankfully, the trip home was shorter. 14 1/2 hours later, I got home with my goods. The M-I-L still had to drive 20 minutes to her house. All for the sake of good food, good company, and good adventures! Maybe, just maybe, this might become an annual adventure.

"There is no love sincerer than the love of food." George Bernard Shaw

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Parade!! and updates

All kinds of first-time fun has been happening recently. First trip to the zoo. First trip out of state. And, first parade! I didn't bring my camera but used my Mom's. However, once pictures get on her camera, they don't get put on my computer. Maybe I can finagle the pictures somehow, someday, maybe.

But we had fun! We were up at my parents' for about a day with more things to do than time to do them all. Regardless, we managed to squeeze in time for a parade. Ben and I also found our way to Harlan Days for a lemon shake-up after Abby was in bed Friday night, but, as expected, it wasn't as good as I remembered. Why is that?

In order to go to the parade, we made a parental executive decision to ignore the morning nap, knowing that we were going to be driving about an hour at lunch time and then another hour later in the afternoon whereupon if she would cooperate, she could nap each time and perhaps not be super grumpy. She complied once but was still sometimes grumpy. Ah well. She had a BLAST at the parade, so we feel like it was worth it. It lasted for a solid hour, and she was super well behaved until the last 10 minutes when she wanted to play with rocks behind us. Not bad. Among other things, we saw:

*lots of police people--motorcycles, cars, a dog, a SWAT tank, etc...lots of noise. Abby waved (and clapped).
*horses...Abby waved.
*my old high school marching band...Abby waved.
*cheerleaders...Abby clapped.
*our niece riding on her preschool's float...Abby waved.
*politicians...Abby waved.

Abby likes to wave at people. :-)

We also had the opportunity to meet up with one of our best buds from college who has recently returned from living in Scotland for 2 years and had a great visit. She asked us what I thought was an interesting question--how would you describe Abby after getting to know her so far. I kinda like this question because no one else has ever asked me this; we think that she's mellow, curious, a nature/animal lover, silly, and a cuddler.

She's kind of going through a learning spurt it seems. Just these past two weeks, she's learned "no," "bye," and to identify her head, hair, belly, toes, eyes, ears, and nose. We're still working on her to use her "all done" sign to show us when she's done eating rather than to throw food on the floor. hehe

On a different note, our babysitter decided to not watch Abby this upcoming year because of family reasons. This is really hard for me, especially. We had a great situation where she was before, and we have no one else that we know/trust at this point. I go back to school Wednesday, and undoubtedly, this is just as emotional for me as it was when I first started working again after my maternity leave. I've been asking for a lot of faith and peace lately! Unfortunately, with both adults in the household being teachers, neither of us can afford to not work given our salaries. It will be a big adjustment in the next few days, which I'm dreading. It will undoubtedly be more expensive as well (which Ben is dreading!).

What a fun summer it's been!! So much better than last year when we basically stayed home and inside most of the time. Even more fun to look forward to next year...??? Yes. :-)