Monday, May 30, 2011

Here is a day to remember all of those who have served our country and continue to serve. I cannot find enough words to express how thankful I am that there are men and women in our country who willingly leave their families and the safety of their homes to fight for us and others around the world.

I know the system is not perfect, that there is much debate about why we are where we are and if it's justified, and that war is a gritty, ugly thing, but regardless of your personal feelings or politics, you cannot feel anything but love and respect for these heroes. On the individual level, these are good people, who care about us, care about our country, and care about justice and doing the right thing.

So, today, as we all enjoy our day off, head to the beach, fire up the grill, or paint a hallway (me!), let's remember the real reason why we have been given this day: the people in our lives who are so frequently forgotten but are always fighting for us.

Happy Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What To Do?

Well, it's just past 10 o'clock at night and Lizzie has finally, maybe, relaxed enough to fall asleep. We put her to bed around 9 (which is late for her, but considering she slept to nearly 8 this morning, unusual, and she took a late nap, it made sense). For an hour she fought sleep. And I mean really fought it. Full out temper tantrum screaming.

Unable to stand it and knowing that she was "okay" (not in any danger, just overtired and refusing to go to sleep), I went out to my car to sit (don't worry, DOH was in the apartment and knew, obviously, because he could hear, what was going on). In my car, with the door closed, the radio going, I could still hear her screaming. I went back inside after a couple of minutes.

After going back into her room and comforting her for the millionth time, explaining that for both of our sanities she needed to go to sleep, she was at least quiet. And she's been quiet. Thank God.

The unfortunate thing, however, is that this has been happeneing every night for the last week.

Shoot me in the freaking face.

I value my post-Lizzie bedtime, because it's pretty much the only time I get during the day to just sit without any time limit. Or, if I'm exhausted, it's prime sleeping time. And if I'm pooped at 8 and Lizzie isn't ready to get to bed, it's miserable. Like, ready to ram your head against a wall in frustration miserable.

I don't know why there is this sudden change. Sometimes she goes through phases where bedtime isn't easy, but for the most part she goes down like a peach, and this feels different. I don't know, maybe she's feeling the upheaval of the move more than I realized and it's throwing her for a loop? Perhaps there is some anxiety surfacing that I wasn't aware of? Her big hang up as I try to put her to bed is that she doesn't want to be left alone (a big thing lately--she's always worried about being left alone or others being left alone). She knows that she is coming with us to the new house...but maybe that hasn't completely registered yet? Hopefully once we're in bedtime will go back to being easy again. Until then...I'm dreading it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Remember that little poetry project I mentioned last week? I had a bit of a delay, but I've finally started. The first poem I read is an oldy but a goody and one of my favorites (I've read it several times for school and loved it)--"The Passionate Shepherd to His Love":

COME live with me and be my Love, 
And we will all the pleasures prove 
That hills and valleys, dales and fields, 
Or woods or steepy mountain yields. 
And we will sit upon the rocks,         5
And see the shepherds feed their flocks 
By shallow rivers, to whose falls 
Melodious birds sing madrigals. 
And I will make thee beds of roses 
And a thousand fragrant posies;  10
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle 
Embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle. 
A gown made of the finest wool 
Which from our pretty lambs we pull; 
Fair-linèd slippers for the cold,  15
With buckles of the purest gold. 
A belt of straw and ivy-buds 
With coral clasps and amber studs: 
And if these pleasures may thee move, 
Come live with me and be my Love.  20
The shepherd swains shall dance and sing 
For thy delight each May morning: 
If these delights thy mind may move, 
Then live with me and be my Love.

COME live with me and be my Love, 
And we will all the pleasures prove 
That hills and valleys, dales and fields, 
Or woods or steepy mountain yields. 
And we will sit upon the rocks,         5
And see the shepherds feed their flocks 
By shallow rivers, to whose falls 
Melodious birds sing madrigals. 
And I will make thee beds of roses 
And a thousand fragrant posies;  10
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle 
Embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle. 
A gown made of the finest wool 
Which from our pretty lambs we pull; 
Fair-linèd slippers for the cold,  15
With buckles of the purest gold. 
A belt of straw and ivy-buds 
With coral clasps and amber studs: 
And if these pleasures may thee move, 
Come live with me and be my Love.  20
The shepherd swains shall dance and sing 
For thy delight each May morning: 
If these delights thy mind may move, 
Then live with me and be my Love.

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant poises,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

The shepherds's swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

Christopher Marlowe

So, if you read this poem, it's sort of a given that you'll read Sir Walter Raleigh's response (yes, that Raleigh, the discoverer who Queen Elizabeth I supposedly had a relationship with, but then, subsequently, had imprisoned in the Tower of London...if you know your Renaissance literature and history). Here's Raleigh's response to the poem, writing as the shepherd's "love":

If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee and be thy love.
Time drives the flocks from field to fold,
When rivers rage and rocks grow cold;
And Philomel becometh dumb;
The rest complain of cares to come.
The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
To wayward winter reckoning yields;
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.
Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy bed of roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies,
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten,
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.
Thy belt of straw and ivy buds,
Thy coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy love.
But could youth last and love still breed,
Had joys no date nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee and be thy love.

Basically, the point is, all those material objects are great for the short term, but in order for real love, you need something that will last forever, and material objects do not. I think they're two very interesting looks at love, and particularly, women and what men think women want. Personally, I think Sir Walter had the right idea (even if Queen Elizabeth thought he needed some time in the Tower), and what Marlowe had to say was just a wee bit cynical, thinking he could convince a woman to go off with him by offering all these lovely objects.

I probably won't do too much poetry analysis here, but I love these poems so much and I thought I'd share them as well as a few quick thoughts. At the very least, I hope this motivates you to go out and check out some poetry on your own!

Good News, Bad News

I feel like every time I blog or talk about something in detail, it winds up not happening. *Sad face* Remember that lovely toile wallpaper I wrote about in the last post? Well, we misread how they listed the prices and it would have cost us well over a $100 dollars (like, $170+) just to wall paper a teeny section of our home. Not worth it.

While I really would have loved to gotten that wallpaper, we just couldn't justify it and figure we'll be taking a trip to Home Depot and pick out some nice but much less expensive wallpaper that we won't feel as bad about spending money on, being exposed to a small child (and someday children) and a small animal (and someday small animals), and feel like we can change, if we want, a few years down the road.

But I am a bit bummed, because I loved the paper, and I hate moving into the house with that stuff still on the walls (especially since I ripped some of it off already...thankfully not too much; sometimes I'm just too impulsive). And our Home Depot trip probably won't be for a few more weeks, so I guess I'm going to have to live with the stuff. I'll keep you updated.

Now on to the good news! As I mentioned Friday, my mom and I were on a mission to find a sofa for our upstairs living room area. The finished basement will have two couches from my parents' house (my mom is giving us a ton of stuff so she has a reason to go get nice, fun stuff, which is great since she went so many freaking years without new furniture--like, 20), but the upstairs needed something, too.

Mom and I set out early Saturday morning and headed south, towards Portland (a.k.a. civilization). Our first (and what ended up being our only) stop was Gobeil's, a furniture store in Gray, Maine that is, unfortunately, going out of business. However, sometimes these things can work to a consumer's benefit, which is why I was able to score a lovely Flexsteel sleeper sofa (bringing out number of sleeper sofas up to TWO, which is really awesome).
So, this isn't the exact sofa we got, but it's very similar. We love it. It is coming in this pretty, warm brownish color that the company is calling topaz, and the fabric is super, super soft and feels really nice, plus, as the sales woman was explaining, is pretty hardy when it comes to stains (which I know is something we have to worry about with Lizzie). We also were able to get two free throw pillows in a really pretty floral pattern. While I'm all about making my own pillows, it's kind of nice to get two free throw pillows, especially in a fabric that I actually like.

Delivery won't be for another few weeks (4 to 6), but we're moving into the new house on Friday. We currently have those free metal chairs I wrote about some time ago sitting in the living room, so, for now, that's going to be our seating in that area. A little uncomfortable, but it'll be so worth it when the couch finally arrives, especially after futon use for the last three years. Ugh.

Friday, May 20, 2011


I'm back! Between graduation, the temporary loss of my powercord for my laptop, and a couple of busy days (including a job interview and a day of subbing at my old middle school), I just haven't had any time. Who knew the end of school would leave me with so little free time?

Anyway, we have a couple small developments with the house (which we're moving into in about a week!). First of all, and pictures, I promise, are coming soon, my dad has started to divide the top floor into two seperate rooms. The "bones" of the rooms are up and he and DOH have started putting in wallboard. Once that's done, I'll paint. And while I posted about the paint colors here, they've changed slightly. Here's what we're going with now:
Lettuce Be Green (California Paints)
Morning Mist (California Paints)
They're slightly lighter than the original colors. My mom convinced me to go lighter because the bedrooms are going to be on the small side and the other colors, while great, where going to be just too bright and therefore overwhelming.

So, with the bedroom paints officially picked, the next thing we needed to tackle was the downstairs room and wallpaper. The downstairs "room" is really one big, multi-use room. It's our kitchen, dining room, and living room (plus we have a family room/mancave in the basement). There is one section that is wallpapered (the dining area), while there are two other walls that are painted (the livingroom is a really catchy red, that I LOVE, while the kitchen walls are green. Here's what the dining area looks like:

I know it's hard to see the wallpaper clearly (it's a sort of leafy, grapey, green/yellow color scheme), but I think that maybe you can tell it's not so hot. (Also note, the furniture is not ours. This picture was taken before the owners moved their stuff out. Also, also note, the incredibly horrible railing--if you can call it that--on the stairs is currently being replaced with one that Lizzie won't fall through.) Frankly, I hate the wallpaper. It's the one detail in the whole house that makes me cringe. I feel like it belongs as a print on an elderly lady's moomoo. Not attractive on anyone or anything, especially my walls.

So, the search for new wallpaper began. Initially I figured we'd go sort of arts and crafts/folk artsy, since that is the general vibe of the house. I grabbed a whole library's worth of wallpaper books from our local interior decorating store, flipped through the books, and marked a whole bunch of stuff. Then DOH stepped into the picture.

Unlike the stereotypical American husband, DOH very much likes giving me his opinion in how things like decorating will go (he was very involved in the planning of our wedding, much to my chagrin, since we are both somewhat type A when it comes to those sorts of things). As he flipped through the pages I'd marked, his responses to what I thought would look good and what I thought he would like were sort of "eh." Then he got to one of the pages I'd marked just for fun, not really thinking he'd go for or if it would even work for the house.

It was a toile. (If you're not familiar with toile, check this out.) It was green. We both loved it. But it wasn't right for the house. The color was off and the scenes were a bit too formal, so we continued looking. The next day I went back to the decorating store, returned a few books and picked up this gem: the Ashford House wallpaper book (sounds very posh, doesn't it?). It was an entire book of toiles. DOH was in wallpaper heaven.

This is what we eventually picked, which I love:
While it's not the traditional toile (with the formal little scenes of pastoral life), it is in a similar style and I think it fits well with the feeling of the house and the landscape we're in (lots of trees, wildlife, and land around us...I know, I need to post pictures). The colors are exactly what we need, and I think it will add a level of sophisitication to the house that wasn't there before. It will be the way we really make the house our own, which I feel like we need to do, because the house has so many distinct features put in by the previous owner.

The next thing on the list (besides actually wallpapering) is to get a sofa for the upstairs. We're getting the sofas in my parents' playroom (or, I should say, my brother's playroom) for our basement family room, but we still need something for the upstairs. Tomorrow my mom and I are going sofa shopping. We'll see what we'll find!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Making Improvements

With school done I've decided I need to find a way to stay on the ball when it comes to my subject area (English). One of my weakest areas is poetry. I like some poetry, but it's not exactly something I'll go and just read. When I was in school and taking literature courses, poetry was frequently and prominently featured (we actually did a whole project on writing, teaching, and reading poetry in my English methods course). So this is where I got a big dose of poetry. But I am horribly underread in that area. I have a smattering of contemporary poets who I've sort of vaguely heard of and read and lots of much less contemporary poets who I am more than familiar with, but don't have an appreciation for them because I has forced to read and interpret their work like a machine crunching numbers. I haven't read poetry with any real pleasure for many, many years, and I'd like to be able to.

So here is one of my (many) summer goals: Read a poem a day. I don't know what I'll do with all this read poetry (if anything--it really just needs to something I do with no real purpose other than to enjoy it), but I feel like it will be good for me on a variety of levels. Poetry, to me, is like exercise. I don't necessarily look forward to doing it, but I'm always glad I did, plus it's good for me. This, along with reading as many books as I possibly can over the summer and along with some professional books I feel better prepared to be in my own classroom (hopefully) next fall.

I think, since I'm writing about this here, I'll at least have some sort of little blurb about what poem I'm reading each day, or maybe a favorite poem for that week? We'll see...we shall see...

Monday, May 16, 2011

My New Love

I was wondering as I wrote my previous post what I would do about things I found online that I liked and then I remembered I was recently "invited" to join Pinterest. For someone who LOVES favorite-ing and bookmarking random stuff online, this is made for me.

The basic premise is you "pin" things you find that you like online and share them with others. So, that cute dress you spotted on Mocloth the other day? You can easily "pin" it to a board you create on Pinterest and can consult it later (maybe you are about to go dress shopping and want to find something similar or you need a quick way of getting back to the dress when you have cash to buy it). It's a neat visual way to look at what catches your fancy or pick out common trends in your style AND it keeps everything in one convenient location (much like a notebook filled with magazine clippings :-) ).

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Where We Stand

Schools over. I'm not currently employed (which may change soon, not sure). We're moving in two weeks. What the hell am I going to do with myself?

Well, the obvious answer to me would be to plop myself down in front of my laptop and/or T.V. and watch Real Housewives episodes and flip through some sort of crap magazine or book.

Unfortunately, I have this naggy side of my personality that prevents me from becoming a vegetable and I guess I'm going to have to something.

Other than send out as many job applications as I can, possibly substitute teach in our school district, take care of my daughter, and take on a few projects at the new house, I have two major things to do: organize (something I'm very bad at) and pack (something I'm very good at, via experience, but not exactly an activity I enjoy, especially when spread out over a couple of weeks).

As of last week, this (see above) is what I had done. I was busy, okay! Today I have a bit more to show for my efforts, having taken Friday as I scrambled to pick up our apartment for my parents' and BFF's arrival to put away a few nonessentials. It's funny, as you pack, you really begin to realize how much crap you really have and how much of it you do actually use. I have to ask myself: Am I actually going to use this within the next two weeks? In a lot of cases, the answer is yes.

So, in addition to trying to get as much packed and put away as possible, I'm attempting to get organized and get rid of some stuff. One of the biggest things I need to clear out are my magazines. I have...a lot of magazines.

The plan had been, oh so long ago, to go through these magazines and pull out articles and recipes that I wanted and then file them way. It never happened, mostly because I never had the time. Somehow writing papers about dead guys became more important. But now I have the time and I've got two seperate magazine-related projects going on.

First of all, I'm taking all the recipes I had pulled previously, but hadn't done anything with, and computer-itizing them (inspired by my cousin Kate's efforts, seen here). I'm using the site Say Mmm (which is great, but the name inspires really immature thoughts, likely because I've spent far too much time around adolescent boys in the last few months). After I'm done with THAT, I'm going to go through the rest of my magazines and put in more recipes that I like/want to try.

The other bit I've got going on is my notebook (I haven't figured out a clever name for it). This is where all my micellaneous magazine clippings go. I paperclip them in and attach the occasional note.

I like this idea, because it keeps all  my stuff readily accessibly and I can consult it quickly and easily. I sort of foresee, however, a time when I accumulate a lot more articles and things and need to find a better way to keep everything. Maybe nice big binders with page protectors organized by subject. Because I'm a loser.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Big Day

In about four hours "comencement" (sadly indoors) will begin. And that's about how many hours (maybe) I got of uninterrupted sleep last night, because my body is just on high alert--high alert for awesomeness. Because, I'm graduating people--freaking graduating.

In a lot of ways, I felt like this day would never come. It was, when I started college nearly five years ago (go Supah Seniors!!), a day that was very far away, with lots of things packed inbetween. I guess I never really knew how much...

Since starting college I've:
  • Lived in four different places (including the residence halls for a year)
  • Read, literally, over a thousand poems, books, plays, and research articles (and honestly, for an English person, that's probably not much)
  • Gotten engaged
  • Made new friends and reaffirmed strong friendships with the old
  • Got my first 100 for a final math grade...ever
  • Been married
  • Never had a GPA below 3.5 (currently just over 3.7--Magna Cum Laude)
  • Had a baby
  • Started to learn where my passions lie and started to seriously consider what I need to be doing with my life
  • Probably started about a dozen blogs and journals
  • Got a house
  • Become even more ridicuously awesome :-)
It's been a busy five years, to say the least. I still can't quite grasp that all that time has ellapsed (didn't we just finish presenting senior projects in the high school forum?), but at the same time, I know when I look at myself, look at everything I have right here with me (my wonderful sleeping husband and daughter, to start with), I see how much has changed, how much I've changed, and that I've more than started to move beyond that person I began this journey as. Five years may have felt like a long time, occasionally, but honestly, I've got a lot done, and done well, in a lot of respects.

I didn't just go to college, I went and kicked its ass.

(Sorry if this sound overly congratulatory--I figured I deserved it, if just for today :-) )

My only regret, and it's not really a regret, more like an observation, is that I sometimes went through this time in my life with only the end in sight. Sometimes this was a time I just needed to "get through." And now I'm through. And yes, I have a lot experiences that I'll cherish, that I will remember fondly, that I'll turn to for inspiration or knowledge, but I sometimes wonder if I should've stopped more often, to fully realize where I was and what I was doing. And now I'm at the end, and while some things are (thankfully) falling into place, my future slowly starting to become visible through the fog, other things are still unclear. It's a tiny bit like running, running, running, with an end in mind, and suddenly stumbling to a stop because you've reached an cliff edge. You have to stop and think at this point, and that's what I plan to do. Stop, think, and most importantly, maybe enjoy the view from that cliff edge. I've gotten a lot done and now it's time to breathe.

I would also be remiss in not mentioning this last bit. There are a lot of different things that contributed to my success in college. Obviously I worked hard, but sometimes hard work can only get you so far, and when you're starting a family, a lot goes into that.

First, there is my husband. Whatever I might tell him, he's amazing. There is no way this would have happened if he hadn't been him, an incredible husband and father and supporter. He may not "get" my OCD when it comes to school work or my desire to do well or that I do actually have to work hard to do as well as I do (he has told me on several occasions to "relax, you'll get an A anyway"...he's the only person I know who can ruin an A for me ;-) ).

Then there is my family, primarily my parents, who have stood by me through all my decisions (good and bad), supported me emotionally and financially at times, and who have been the people who, besides myself, I have worked so hard for. Like so many kids, I wanted to make my parents proud, and I hope I've done that.

I also need to thank my grandparents, all four of them, though only one is still around to see me graduate. My grandma Mahoney, who passed away when I was eight, is my guardian angel. She has never not been a presence in my life, and when things feel like they're going south, I know she is standing there beside me, holding my hand, giving me guidance. My dad's parents, like they pressed my father, they pressed me to do well. They bought me my first laptop. My grandmother, even as she was dying (like, literally dying), wanted to see my Practicum portfolio and was asking me about school. They are THE American dream, the children of desperately poor immigrants from Eastern Europe, they busted their asses to create a prosperous life for themselves, and if it were not for them, much of my success and comfort, present and future, would not be possible. They are my heroes, I love them so much, and while I know, somewhere, somehow they're going to be able to see me graduate (probably on some solid, practically purchased television, catching me grabbing my diploma between a Red Sox game and a bowling tournament, up in heaven), it breaks my heart a tiny bit that I can't actually call them with the good news. And finally, my grandpa Mahoney, who, THANK GOD is here for the event (because this was questionable a few weeks ago). He is my inspiration (another perfect example of the American dream). He has been a teacher, he has helped raise a family while working his butt off, he has been supportive and kind and thoughtful. He has been the model grandfather. When I think of what I want to be when I grow up, I want to be my grandpa (but the girl version).

I also need to say that my extended family, aunts, uncles, cousins, and in-laws have been amazing. It's kind of awesome to have that sort of cheering crowd. They have only ever been supportive, offering up words of encouragement and wisdom and subjecting themselves (at least a few) to probing interviews for whatever education class I have that semester that needs me to talk to someone. Thank God they have all been here.

I must also mention my friends, both fellow college students and my friends from home. Yes, support and love abound, but also babysitters. Holy crap, the babysitters. You guys...Weird hours, sporatic pay, messy homes (which a could CLEANED for me, because their awesome), and always sympathetic. Totally and utterly lost without them all.

Lizzie's daycare--the sweetest, kindest person I could ask for (at the best possible rate!) has watched my daughter for the last two school years. She has been fabulous and I'll be sad to not be able to send Lizzie there (and Lizzie will be sad, too!). It has been great to know Lizzie is in a positive, safe environment, and it's been nice to know I can go and pick her up, flop down on the couch and bitch about school or have a nice chat about Star Wars (geeks unite!).

My university professors have also been ridicuously awesome and understanding. I have not had one professor give me crap about any of the extra craziness in my life. I have been able to, in a pinch, bring Lizzie to a class (and because of this, I'm sure she's attended more college classes than some seniors did this past semester...). I've had professors who openly claim to dislike small children melt at the sight of my daughter and delight in her presence. I've had professors take my fussing baby and walk her in the hall as our class finished up a discussion. I've had professors work their schedules around mine, inquire after my little girl, ask me to bring her by, and just be generally supportive and understanding of the fact that their class is not the only thing going on in my life.

And finally, all the community resources we've utilized. From programs through the hospital, Community Concepts, the Children's Task Force, WIC, etc.--these programs have made it possible for me to graduate, to make my life a bit less stressful, and helped me become a better parent. I truly wish I could go to every person who helps run and fund these programs and give them huge hugs and a million bucks a piece, because that's how much their worth (plus some) to me.

Okay, that was a long, gushy entry, but it feels good to write down. And now I'm going to go shower, eat some breakfast (if that's possible) and get ready to GO!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Of Chairs and Pillows

Now that school's over (and graduation is only a day away!), I finally have some time to post a couple of pictures that are "domestic" related.

First of all, you might remember from this post that I found two way cool FREE patio chairs on the side of the road. Well, above is one of them (at the time only one had made its home on the new house's front porch, while the other hung out in our kitchen, but now the pair is back together). Their not exactly beautiful, but I kind of liked the style, they were comfortable, and given a cushion and a coat of paint they'll be awesome.

Secondly, in that second picture, you'll notice some pillows. Remember waaaaay back to one of my first posts? All that fabric? Well, I ended up taking a bunch of it and decided to do pillows for our bed in the new house. So, these are the first three pillows. I'm currently working on a minky blanky for Lizzie, but as soon as that's done (probably finish it today or tomorrow night and will post pictures soon after), I'm going to go back the pillows and make a bunch of square ones. Maybe with a button in the center. We'll see.

Anyway, I love the pillows. They're comfy, pretty, and my stitches all came out real nicely (I've probably mentioned this, but I only sew by hand). I'd like to dress them up a bit, but I'm not exactly sure how. I'm a good basic sewer (meaning I can slap some pieces of fabric together), but there isn't much else I can do. 

The next goal, besides finishing the pillows themselves, is finding a white coverlet or duvet to put on our bed. I think the white bed covering with the pops of color from the pillows will look really lovely. Can't wait to post some picture soon!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I'm having one of those days where my entire body is vibrating with excitement. There is so much I want to do and so much that is going to happen, and it seems silly to feel so excited about all of it, because a lot of it is pretty mundane, but I can't seem to contain myself and how I feel and I just have this welling of joy and enthusiasm.

It could have something to do with the fact that today is my last day of student teaching.

And tomorrow it's supposed to be about 70 degrees out.

And I don't have anywhere to be. :-)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

When Your Own Life is Just Not Exciting Enough

Do you want to lie awake at night contemplating the deep mysteries of life and love? Do you enjoy thoroughly researched historical fiction that feels both informational yet extremely entertaining? Can you get past extremely graphic descriptions of births, operations, and battle wounds from the 18th century if it means the coolest woman in the world is the one helping with the births, performing the operations, and dressing the battle wounds? Do you like time travel? Have you ever wanted to to do it with a **HOT** Scottish guy (think Gerard Butler only...better).

I recently finished the latest book in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, An Echo in the Bone. It's really hard to describe this one book (and, in fact, it's really hard to describe any of the books), much like it's really hard to describe awesomeness--it's just too abstract. But, for the sake of you, my readers, I'm going to take a stab at it.

Basically, the premise of the whole series is that there is this woman named Claire. When you first meet Claire she's on a second honeymoon with her husband Frank in Scotland after the end of World War Two. One morning, Claire (who was a nurse during the war) goes out to check out this flower she had seen the day before at a group of standing stones (like Stonehenge, but on a smaller scale). As her hand brushes one of the stones she's hurdled back in time to Scotland, circa 1740s. It is there, unsure of how to return home, she meets Jamie Fraser, The Sexiest Man Alive. The series (seven books as of right now and there is an eighth in the works) follows the life and romance between Claire and Jamie, who are soul mates if there ever were such a thing.

If you aren't brushed up on your history (American or British), then you should know that the 1740s and the subsequent years are pretty crazy. There's the Jacobite uprising in Scotland against the British, and then there's all that nonsense in the American colonies some time later (a Revolution or some such rubbish). Claire and Jame manage to get wrapped up in all that business, because the series literally covers decades out of these people's lives and the lives of their children. You may start the first book with a couple of key characters (namely Claire and Jamie), but by the time you reach the seventh book you're following the story lines of about five or six people.

So, yes, it's historical fiction, but it's also romance, too (with really well written sex scenes--this isn't your mother's romance novel). It also has some mystery and sci-fi/fantasy thrown in there as  well. The books are so long and involved she manages to through in just about ever fiction genre there is. And while one might feel like the plots are very complicated and therefore perhaps difficult to follow (they're sure difficult to explain), it really isn't. If you've ever watched a T.V. series where there is a continuous plot line (like LOST or 24, or basically any show that begins with, "Previously on...") you realize as you watch each show or even each season that the plot feels fairly straight forward if you've watched it faithfully, but if you try to explain it to someone you end up saying, "You just have to watch it for yourself." The books don't feel complicated as you read them, because you're so enmeshed with the characters and what's happening, but once you step back you think to yourself, "Geez, a lot just happened!"

I've been reading the Outlander series for about five years now and with the exception of the latest book, I've read each book at least two times and they never get old. The stories are rich and complex, but very plot driven, so you're constantly moving forward. They are just really good stories with characters you want to succeed (or die, depending on who it is). It's the type of book that you will laugh out loud over or find yourself sobbing until hiccups.

I love these books and highly recommend them to anyone who wants a good read.

Currently Reading: Anne of Green Gables

Another Day, Another Dollar...

Me, looking bored.
...Oh, wait, that's right. I'm not being paid to be here.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sunburns, Gift Certificates, and a Total Lack of Motivation

Okay, let's start with the "Total Lack of Motivation" part, because I can't even seem to motivate myself to write something!

I graduate in (*counts on fingers*)... five days. A lot of my little senior pals who are not education majors have much of this week off, having managed to escape finals or lucked out with the odd take-home or paper (I say "lucked out", but I suppose it's all relative. I'd rather be hunkered down in the library basement than sitting in a high school classroom at the moment--and you can see by the fact that I'm blogging how much my dedication has wavered...granted, I don't teach during second period). No, I have obligations for the rest of this week that require my physical presence here, in this classroom, doing...stuff (I actually plan on spending the next three days eating cookies and playing Apples to Apples with my juniors).

However, there is nothing to be said for my mental presence in the classroom, which I can say has been lacking since...(I don't want to say March, but) January. Okay, slight exaggeration, but when you can count on one hand how many more days you have left to your undergraduate career, you start to feel a bit flighty. You also can't spell exaggeration. I've spelled it wrong twice now. Yay for spell check! BTWs, it's double g's, not double r's.

So, if I'm not here at the lovely area high school (mentally), then where am I?

Me, daydreaming. Yes, that is my classroom and motivational poster 
using an iceberg in the background.

Location #1:My dad's boat
We lucked out with a uber gorgeous weekend (hoping and praying we get this next weekend), so I spent Saturday raking and ripping the life out of my garden at the new house (which sound really horrible--I actually just cleaned up some spaces--I will be posting pictures after graduation, when I have my life back) and sitting on my dad's boat. Yesterday we shipped out from my parents' house at one end of a gorgeous lake in Maine and boated down to the other end of the lake, roughly seven miles away, got lunch at a restaurant (the novelty of being able to "park" your boat at a restaurant and then going in to eat will never be old to me), then boated home. I came back very crispy, but very happy.

Location #2: The local nursery--garden variety
The tradition in my family has been you do something vegetation/outdoor related for the mom's in your life for mother's day. For example, this year, we got my mom a gift certificate L.L. Bean so she can put her Adirondack chair jealousy to bed and get a spiffy reclining one to go on their porch, thereby winning the sweet seat competition she and my dad seem to have been having for the last 12 years since they moved into the new house.

In previous years, both my mom and I have been gifted plant life. It was also the go-to gift for both my grandmothers when they were still living (both possessing great green thumbs, something I hope to inherit and hone--I'm really loving the alliteration here, aren't I?). Anyhow, when this year came around, DOH asked me what I wanted. I was torn. What we really, really need is a new vacuum cleaner, but funds are tight and my mom has promised me her old one (we're getting a lot of furniture and appliance hand-me-downs lately--something I am not complaining about). So, my second option was plantlife (per usual). I told DOH I really wanted to get some potted plants to put in the little planters that are on the front portion of our porch at the new house. They're these adorable little bird houses that are open at the top and you're meant to just slide in your little potted plants. Each time I think of these cute little features (I will post pictures ASAP, promise), I immediately envision Christmas time and little sprays of greenery coming out of these. But for now, I want some cute potted plants. I'm thinking these:
Geranium (a classic)

Pansy (love these, but I can't help but think of those talking flowers from Disney's Alice in Wonderland).

Hydrangea (my favorite flower of all time, but I'm not sure if these can be potted, really). 

 Location #3: Next Saturday Morning
I keep thinking about that moment when I accept my empty diploma case (explained, sort of, here), shake the many hands of the important professors and upper university echelon, and saunter off the stage, having completed my undergraduate degree (my next few posts between now and Saturday, and probably just after Saturday, will likely repeat that whole "completed my undergraduate degree" phrase a whole bunch--feel free to start the drinking game now--that's three shots already, by the way--I know I've started).

Saturday, while less important academically than my aforementioned portfolio presentation, it's still a big day, an exciting day, and probably one of the last days I'll have for a while that are about me and a celebration over what I've done. I know that sounds totally narcissistic and horrible, but it's how I feel. I like getting positive, pats on the back kinds of attention, and I packed a lot of that into the last five years, between my high school graduation, the birth of our daughter, our wedding, the purchase of a house, etc., etc. We've pretty much done everything most adults do over several years in about four (not counting graduating from high school). So, graduation is my last hurrah for just me, at least for a while (there is graduate school and all that good stuff).

All this leaves me in a pretty tough position. I need to be here, school, until Thursday (though we'll see how Thursday goes since a bulk of my students will be MIA at a college fair). After that, I'm as free as a bird. But Thursday feels so far away.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Well, That Was Unexpected

As I've mentioned previously, I want to have another baby. This, unfortunately, isn't going to happen for a little while. One of the major reasons for that being DOH. He isn't there yet. However, we've made a potentially huge brake through.

First of all, DOH was watching Pregnant in Heels with me last night (one more weirdo reality show about insanely rich woman Bravo has put out, only these are pregnant). Anyway, one couple had a focus group help decide what their kid's name was going to be (yes, you read that right). One of the names was Miles.

DOH has been adamant for some time that if we ever have a boy that he will share DOH's name (which means he'd also be sharing DOH's bio dad's name, his grandfather's name, and his uncle-to-be's name--this name is way over used in DOH's family). Anyway, when he heard the name Miles last night, he perked up.
"That's not such a bad name," he said. "But I think I like Milo even better." 
"Would you consider naming our next kid, if it's a boy, Milo?" I asked, trying to stem the hope that was coursing through my body.
"Yeah, sure." I was stunned. Completely floored. This was the man who would actually get angry if I talked about naming a boy a name other than his (he'd also get angry if I talked about having another baby, period). I could believe it.

I didn't want to push things. If there is one thing I've learned after being with DOH for five years it's that if he starts to change his mind about something we've been discussing heatedly for a while (read: arguing), then it's best to leave it alone and let him come to the "right" decision (the one I want) on his own. Hopefully this all means he's warming up to the idea of having another baby, and, if it's a boy, naming something other than the traditional male name in his family.

Here's to keeping our fingers crossed.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Blessed Be St. Anthony

As I've posted before (here), I'm not terribly religious. But there is one thing that's sort of dogmatic and religion specific (Catholicism) that I completely and totally believe in. Saint Anthony.

Saint Anthony is, in a nutshell, the saint of lost things. Basically, if you pray to St. Anthony, he'll help you find something you've lost. It can be as concrete as losing your sunglasses to as abstract as asking for strength or courage to do something. DOH is a big believer in praying to St. Anthony when we can't find something. At first, when we were first living together, I'd laugh at him, blame our success on finding missing items quickly after his praying to St. Anthony on pure coincidence. I have since been freed of my disbelief. Here's why:

Example #1 - About a year ago I lost my engagement ring. Long story on how all that happened, but I ended up losing it and not being able to find it...for months. DOH didn't know. I didn't dare tell him. If he asked me why I wasn't wearing my ring I'd say it didn't fit me well any more because of some weight gain (which was actually true at the time). Finally, after being unable to find the ring for months and I was starting to get really worried, I told DOH the truth. His immediate action was to say a quick prayer to St. Anthony. The next morning I found the ring. Under my pillow.

Now before you get all synical and say, "Oh, your husband must have found it, blah, blah, blah," know this: DOH had to work that night. I found the ring before he came home. Sure, could he have possibly found the ring before I told him and put in under my pillow, but that isn't something he'd do. Plus, I made him swear on the life of our child that he didn't do it (and he's like a 12 year old, so he takes those sorts of oaths seriously), and he swore he didn't. I believe whole-heartedly St. Anthony (or something like that) put the ring under my pillow.

Example #2 - I didn't get my driver's license until last November. I went for my license three times. I failed three times. On the day of the fourth try I was a wreck. Couldn't eat. Couldn't sleep. Couldn't function at school. My classmates (I was taking courses still at this point) asked me what was wrong. I explained that I was going for my license (again). One of my friends, a devote Catholic, immediately said, "You need to pray to St. Anthony." I looked at her kind of funny, confused.
"Why St. Anthony?"

"Because you've lost your confidence and you need it back." She immediately e-mailed her mom  who quickly responded back with the "official" St. Anthony prayer, we all (everyone sitting at our table) said the prayer. Then another friend said she was sure we could find a message board online for prayers to St. Anthony. Literally about five seconds later she found one and I submitted a prayer.

Needless to say, I got my license, feeling about a million times better at the time of my driver's test.

Example #3 - Last Tuesday I lost my keys. After looking for them for two whole days and part of today, I was feeling defeated and ready to give up. We, DOH and I, had said a prayer to St. Anthony last night. While I didn't expect to find my keys immediately, I figured once I got things picked up around the apartment they'd turn up. Well, they didn't. I had picked up all the rooms where I figured the keys must be, but they weren't anywhere. I went into Lizzie's room to pick up feeling disgruntled, thinking out loud, "Well, thanks for that one St. Anthony."

The very first thing I picked up was a bag I usually bring Lizzie's stuff to daycare in. All that was in there were her slippers and some wipies. But then, rather suddenly, the bag felt just a bit heavier. I took out the slippers, then the wipies, and then my keys. My keys. II cannot think of how they could have gotten in there. Lizzie hadn't been playing with the bag, so she couldn't have put them in there. I didn't use that bag on Tuesday, when I lost the keys. I thought I had put the keys on the kitchen table and the bag had been in Liz's room (cue Twilight Zone music). It was almost as St. Anthony was saying, "Quit your bitchin' kid, you've got your keys. Now let me move on to more important things, okay?" (And yes, I totally believe that St. Anthony would say "bitchin'". He's cool like that.)

I know there are lots of logical explanations to these three events and the numerous other examples I have of how prayers to St. Anthony have led me to missing things, but I'm not a logical person, and sometimes you can't be when it comes to spiritual or religious subjects, and I'm totally okay with that. And it may be St. Anthony who is helping me find my keys or summon the courage to not drive like an idiot, but it could also be the positive energy I am building up and sending out into the universe, which manifests itself in what it is I desire. Regardless, it's pretty cool.

And it's almost enough to make me convert to Catholicism. Almost. :-)

Weekend Goals

Friday: Clean up the apartment and get some packing done. Load as much as I can into my car. Read some work for one of my students and e-mail her a response.

Saturday: Drive down to the new house and get some yard work done. Unload some of those boxes. Check out our new public library. Maybe get out on my parents' boat, weather permitting.

Sunday: Celebrate Mother's Day with my mum!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The British Are Coming!!

I saw this on my entertainment news feed this morning and nearly died.

Kate and Wills, my best pals ever (Sorry I couldn't make it to the wedding, guys. School stuff, yeah know?), are coming to the United States!!!!! We're going to be within the same freaking country! Holy crap!

Okay, so they're coming to California, which is, maybe, thousands of miles away from our home, but it's still probably the closest I'll ever be to the royals whom I love so much.

(I'm thinking this is me in my senior years:  )

Okay, so, maybe we're actually closer to the royal family with their in England than when in California (by about 300 miles), BUT this is different. They're in the states. They're on my turf, in my home. I feel like I should clean or something.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It's a Big Fricking Deal

In ten days, I graduate from college. I could go on about what a significant moment this is, how proud of myself I am, how hard I've worked, blah, blah, blah.

Yes, graduation is great.

But let me tell you about my portfolio.

All education majors (and I'm one of those people) has to put together a Standards Portfolio. To be certified to teach in the state of Maine, you have to meet the "Initial Standards for Certification" (seen here, if you're really curious...and I know you aren't). My education program guarantees us eligibility to to be certified to teach by the time we graduate from college. In order to fulfill that guarantee, we have to create the Standards Portfolio that documents at least twenty artifacts (two artifacts per standard--there are ten, if you didn't figure that out already) showing how we've met each standard.

This is a lot of work.

Making the actual portfolio doesn't actually consist of a lot of effort, just a ton of time (like, a couple of days worth of time--if you're smart, you spread it out over a week or two). What does take a lot of effort is creating the artifacts. Now, you aren't going to create a bulk of your artifacts (or any, really), just to put in your portfolio. Example, all my artifacts are products from the units I wrote, student products from lessons I planned and wrote, workshops I attended, research papers I wrote, websites I created for student use, all the analysis I had to do for a separate project I completed earlier this semester (which was the most hellish thing I experienced--you plan a unit, you teach it, you collect data, you analyze all that data, you literally write hundreds of pages about every little thing you did with you students, why, and what the repercussions were), etc., etc., etc.

So, the point is: It's a lot of work.

And yesterday, I presented my portfolio, as well as other projects I've completed, to professors, other education students, other college students, my family, and any other person who wanted to drop in and listen to me (I should note that I wasn't the only one doing this; there were several of us who all presented yesterday). And you should know, portfolio presentations are a big deal for us education majors. We have an exit interview first, where our supervisor basically signs off on our being able to graduate (it's rare that people don't get signed off during their exit interview, because they normally know their in deep trouble before they get to that point, BUT it's still nerve racking). Then, after your exit interview, you're given a table in one of the dining halls on campus where you set up your portfolio display (so, your portfolio, student work, candy to entice visitors, review sheets, pretty decorations, etc.). And then you wait for people to show up and you talk non-stop for about three hours.

It's exhausting, but it's also cathartic, because you get to fully express for the first time just how hard you worked and how much you loved it over the course of a semester. At this point, you feel confident in what you do and proud of yourself and ready to take on the world of education on your own. It's a great feeling and it's fun and for most of us education majors, it's a way bigger deal than having your name announced, grabbing an empty diploma holder (our university doesn't mail out our diplomas until July, so we just get an empty holder on graduation), and standing, briefly, before a sea of anonymous faces.

Yes, graduation is great and is intended to be a celebration, but portfolio presentations is a chance for us ed. majors to shine and to show that we deserve to be graduating (and in many cases, graduating with some sort of cum laude--magna in my case). I am looking forward to graduating in about a week and a half (!!!), but I sort of feel like I've done it. And that's a pretty big fricking deal.

Writing Prompt: I Watch Junk T.V.

10 reasons why you could not be a real housewife from any county.
  1. The classiest alcoholic beverage I drink is Boonsfarm.
  2. Instead of having two rotating nannies for my one child, I, and this may be hard to believe, but I actually spend time with my kid *GASP*. 
  3. While I’m extremely busy actually working, raising a child, actually being married (rather than someone’s ex-wife), I don’t seem to need a personal assistant. 
  4. I’m not actually a housewife. 
  5. I don’t feel the need to tell everyone how insert positive character trait here, because my actions/appearance actually do that for me. 
  6. I don’t have any “frienemies.”
  7. I’d never be able to be a cougar. Or whatever the opposite of a cougar is (a girl who dates an insanely older man...kitten?). 
  8. I stopped partying, getting shitfaced, and acting like a complete ass when I was...Oh, wait, I never did that. 
  9. My mom doesn’t look like a woman crossed with a large, unattractive cat (watch the Real Housewives of Miami--you’ll know what I’m talking about). 
  10. These boobs? REAL. 
Okay, while all that might seem a bit...harsh...I have to admit, I love the Real Housewives shows--all of them (though NYC is my fave, though it isn’t the same now that Bethenny is gone).

Monday, May 2, 2011


I went to the new house this weekend with my mom and we walked around the yard for a bit, trying to figure out what the different plants that were popping up were, and deciding what work needs to be done.

Holy fuzzibuns there is a lot of work to do.

While there is a lot of gorgeous plant life beginning to crop up (pictures at another time--maybe next weekend?), like peonies (YAY!), roses, tulips, and bee balm (my favorite flowers), the garden has not been tended for a couple of years and there is a lot of much needed raking, cutting back, and just plain old weeding and plant removal that needs to be done. And besides that, the stone walls that surround the property (so charming) need to be fixed up a bit along with the brick walkway coming up to the front door.

Granted, some of this stuff can be accomplished by DOH. He made quick work of the stone-ringed fire pit this weekend and did a great job, but he's not much of a gardener. And while I'm not much of one either, I think I have more ambition to become one than he does. Which means much of this work will fall on me.

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. Though much of my undergraduate work will be done after tomorrow (I can't believe I just wrote that--whole other post going on there), I don't have this endless amount of time to work on the gardens at the new house between now and when we move in. And though I don't expect to have everything done by the move in date (that would be stupid, considering how much we have to get done inside the house before we do actually move in), I want to get started as soon as possible, because I want to have a good sense of what everything looks like when it's decently groomed so I know what I want to keep and what I need/want to go. Plus, I am planning on (who knows if this is what will happen) having my graduation party in July at the new house. I'd like everything to look...nice (read: perfect).

Of course, I'm putting too much pressure on myself (something I am really excellent at). It's not like it's imperative that I get all my gardens in perfect order now (or any time soon or...ever). But I want to get started. I want to do it all. But it's so much. And I'm feeling overwhelmed by it, especially when I think of it in conjunction with all the cleaning/painting/fixing/spending of money that we have to do. It's enough to bowl a girl completely over.

This whole house buying thing, while totally awesome, is also a lot of work (if you weren't already of aware of that fact). I'm thinking some lists are in order (the cure for all things overwhelming--thank God for stickies on my computer).
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...