Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Writing writing writing

I stumbled upon a new blog, YA Highway!  I'm sort of in love with it.  I've been working on a YA novel ever since NaNoWriMo.  You can read my intro here.

I'm stoked to keep revising my novel.  I feel like it has potential.  The characters are becoming more defined, with personalities and mannerisms.  The plot continues to develop and at times it surprises me.

Well, that's all I can write today.  It's finals week, and I am booked solid!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bordeom Busters!

It's the week before finals
and all through the office
not a student was stirring
not even a novice

Their backpacks were thrown
on the floor without care
in hope that their teachers
would not find them there...

Ok, that's truly terrible, but I'm incredibly bored!  Kids are all working on projects or papers, so I've been finding other ways to pass the time.  Could, blow off work with me!

 Fan-flipping-tastic.  These kids are super creative.  They could give my class a run for their money, for sure!

This one is pretty old, but I like a good throw-back now and again! 


Same house, different music, still awesome!

I hope you enjoyed my boredom busters!  Now, GET BACK TO WORK!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

10 on Tuesday

Happy Tuesday!  For today's 10 on Tuesday, here are 10 awesome ways to use pallets to decorate your home!


10.Rolling Outdoor Table as seen on joy ever after

This cute little table, made of two pallets and some basic wheels, can add a little flair to your patio!

9. Rustic Table as seen on Sew Homegrown

Again, just two pallets, and wham-boom!  A table!  Plus there is some additional storage for magazines or books.

8. Pallet Desk as seen on IKEA Hackers
Pallet + Legs = practical desk with built in storage!

7. Pallet Pet Bed as seen on Etsy:

 Of course, you'll make it and then your cat won't sleep in it...

6. Shoe Storage Rack

Admittedly, not the prettiest of pallets, but slap a little paint on there and wham-o, a shoe rack fit for a queen...or shoes.  Whatever.

5. Photo Shelf as seen on AmandaCarver Designs

For a cute way to display photographs, this shelf adds a touch of rustic beauty to your home.

4. Pallet Sofa as seen Cuarto derecha
 This one uses 6 pallets, topped by a simple foam cushion.  Add some color with pillows or cute slip covers!

3. Coat Rack as seen on Shelterness
I love this!  It couldn't be simpler.  We have a coat overflow problem at my house, and I will definitely be doing this project soon!

2. Pallet Christmas Tree


Pure cuteness!  This would be a perfect gift for the folk art lover in your family!

1.  Pallet Coffee Table as seen on Espritcabane
Love, love, love!  From the colors to the little drawers, I am in LOVE with this table!  This is going to be my NEXT next project.  It just looks so homey, and so pretty!

That's it for this week's 10 on Tuesday!  Have some pallet love?  Leave me a message, and be sure to follow my blog!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Momma Monday


I have the greatest kid in the whole world.  It's not an exaggeration, it's the honest to Bob truth.  She's phenomenally helpful, her language skills are way above average, and she's freakin' adorable.  Basically, I won the kid lotto.

I also have the ability to annoy the utter crap out of her.  Like, seriously.  She's not even two yet, and  I already get the eye rolls, the sighs, and the "Stop Mom!"s.  I expected this to happen at some point, but I was looking toward the teenaged years, not the toddler years!

Anyway, I've decided to share some Little Toots highlights in honor of Momma Monday!


See how much I annoy her?

Mmmm, pizza!

My all-time favorite!

Enjoy!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Bentley Saga - Homeless dog becomes local cause- UPDATE

12/2/2011 An update on Bentley: He's been adopted!!  A Lake Placid man has welcomed Bentley into his family.  Hooray for happy endings!!  There are still so many animals in need of loving homes.  Please visit your local shelter and adopt a companion animal!!
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Homeless dog becomes local cause

A few weeks ago, my husband got a mass email from one of his colleagues, asking if anyone would be willing to adopt Bentley, a 10-month old Boxer/St. Bernard mix.  There was really no response, so another email circulated.  And another.  Then there were rumors that Bentley was in danger of being put down, since he had been at the shelter for two months.

I had my husband forward me the email so that I could send it around to the folks I work with.  I know we have quite a few animal lovers on campus.  I also told my husband that if Bentley was in danger of being put down, then we had to go get him.  I'll be honest, we have a teeny tiny little house, jammed packed with two cats and a Great Dane/Husky mix, not to mention a toddler (although I did just mention her, huh?)  But who could resist this face?



I had a number of people call me about Bentley, and I directed them to the SPCA Shelter where he is being held.  Apparently Bentley wasn't in immediate danger of being put to sleep, so interest once again began to dwindle.  He is still at the shelter, waiting for his forever home.

This is the part where I urge you to go to a shelter to adopt a pet.  Please don't buy "designer" dogs.  Please don't purchase a puppy from a puppy mill!  There are many sweet and loving animals in your local shelter, just waiting to be loved!  We adopted Frankie from a not-for-profit shelter called Precious Pups.  They didn't charge us a penny (although we donated money to cover the cost of shots), and we got an awesome companion.

 If you are looking to add a pet to your family, PLEASE go to a local shelter!  If you can't own a pet, volunteer your time!  You won't regret it, and you'll earn major karmic points (plus a spot in my heart).

If you live in the Northern New York area, stop in to visit Bentley at the Ogdensburg SPCA.  He's a sweet dog!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2011 Nanowrimo Winner!!

I did it!  I finally did it!  On the fourth attempt at writing a novel in a month, I crushed it!  Killed it!  Mutilated it!  All in all, I did nasty, nasty things to that goal.  It was touch-and-go for a while there.  Looking at my stats, there was a week of plateau, where I didn't write at all.  What was I doing?  Who knows.  I lost focus, I slacked off.  I let myself down a little bit.  Then, I had a week off for Thanksgiving break (the beauty of working in higher education).  Little Toots was still going to daycare, because why pay for it if we're not going to use it?  So, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I dedicated to writing.  That really helped me get my word count back on track.

I'll be honest.  Some of my novel is complete and utter trash.  I know I have the ability to write well, so I'm very aware of when I'm not writing well.  So what?  30 days is too short a time to become precious about my story.  Some of my characters were flat, some were overblown.  The plot inched along at a snail's pace, and sometimes it raced off life Prefontaine.

There are scenes I'm really proud of, like my opening.  There are scenes that were wonderful in my head, but didn't quite translate to the page.  One in particular was the climax (I know, right?!  The freakin' CLIMAX sucked!)  My main character had been buried alive.  I was imagining something super suspenseful.  Would she make it out alive?  What's going to happen?  AHHH!  But, it fell flat.  At one point, I  was like "I should just let her die, she's driving me NUTS!"  She lived.  Just barely.

The characters took on personalities all their own, and they led me to some interesting places.  Who knew that they would want to go mining for Herkimer diamonds?  Not me!

I just feel very excited, and very relieved.  As soon as I crossed that 50,000 word mark, it was like a weight lifted off of my chest.  I know the novel isn't finished, but I met my goal.  It's given me another example of how much I can accomplish if I set my mind to it.  There is so much negativity in the world, and I feel the need to combat it at every turn.  Don't think I can write a novel?  Watch this!  BOOM, novel.  I can't run 13.1 miles?  Freakin' WATCH ME!

I urge anyone that enjoys writing even a little bit to sign up for Nanowrimo next year.  It's one of the most exhilarating and rewarding experiences of my life.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Crafty

I love crocheting!  So this is a link to my wish list!  Feel free to buy me any and all things on there!

Sorry this is such a short post.  NaNo ate my soul...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NaNoWriMo week #1

Hello, friends!  Yesterday marked the end of week #1 of NaNoWriMo.  I've passed the 10,000 word mark, and I'm excited about my work so far.  Well, I'm excited about someof my work!  Since I don't have time to write a witty and amazing blog entry, I'll just leave you with an excerpt from my 2011 Nano project, Golden Iris.


                Something was coming.  The villagers knew it, and were preparing.  Women gathered their children, ushering them in to the shelter of the long house.  The men, back from hunting, cleaned their weapons.  There was enough meat to supply the village for the foreseeable future.  It was a bright and beautiful day.  The cerulean sky was decorated by cottony clouds.  It seems impossible that today would bring such change, but the girl was never wrong.  So, the people prepared.
                The men building the fire nodded at one another, and beckoned to the women and girls that were adorned with tribal paint.    These women, the unmarried, always danced around the sacred fire in times of celebration, or times of war.  The paint, a strong black line down the nose, and parallel blue lines down the forehead, over the eyes, and down the cheeks, was a symbol to the gods that they were virgins, and therefore worthy vessels. 
The drumming began slowly at first, but increased in steady rhythm as the women raised their arms.  Children peeked out of doorways, not wanting to miss this unique celebration.  The men began a chant, a low guttural sound, like boars foraging in the woods.  Arms in the air, the women began to circle, their feet moving to the beat of the drums.  The children were frightened, for this didn’t seem like a celebration any longer.  The circle danced faster and faster, while the drum echoed the beating of a few dozen hearts.  The rhythm broke, and the dancers spun, almost out of control.  Chanting was now a low moaning, no longer a foraging boar, but a wounded animal.
                The bright sky was darkening, as if it were night.  The sun, snuffed out like a candle, could no longer be seen.  The children cried out for their mothers, certain that there would never be daylight again.  The mothers, usually a reassuring presence, looked for their husbands, just as frightened as the children.  They had never seen the sun disappear.  All of their preparation was a waste.  It wasn’t a great coming; it was the end of the world!
                The men, silenced by the darkness, grabbed their weapons and readied themselves to fight for their women and children.   Wailing babies and sniveling children were the new chant, the scurrying and shuffling the new dance.  Most of the villagers were poised ready to flee at the command of the elders.  Flying away from a battle was not the way of these people, but this was much different than a war raid.  The only way to preserve themselves might be to act as cowards and hide.
                Beyond the village, the girl who had foreseen the darkness closed her eyes.  She could not see beyond it, and this worried her.  Her brother, who had decided to stay with her instead of joining the hunters in the village, looked at her expectantly.  She opened her eyes and shook her head.  He sighed, and picked up a stick, poking the ground.  The girl smiled briefly; this was his nervous habit.  Their father acted the same way when he was nervous but didn’t want them to know.  However, the girl always knew.  She had been given the name She That Sees Twice, for she saw not just the outside, but the beyond.  Her brother, Stone Mover, had teased her that she saw twice because of the two colors in her eyes.  Her eyes were blue, except for a golden ring around her pupil.  When they caught the light just right, her eyes seemed to be in flames.
                But, the sun blotted from the sky, her two-toned eyes were rich and coppery.  Stone Mover placed a strong hand on her shoulder and steered her into their shared dwelling.  He decided to go to the village to see if the elders knew what to do.  She That Sees Twice sat on the floor, trying to vain to see what was coming.  It was like there was nothing after the day, that the world would just cease to exist.  Her lack of vision became overwhelming, and she put her head down.  Perhaps Stone Mover would come back with good news.  She rested.
                Stone Mover approached the village at a run.  His long, strong legs pushed him closer and closer to the village.  A large man, called Thighs like Trees, stepped out in front of him, brandishing a spear.  Stone Mover quickly stepped back and showed the man that he was unarmed.  Thighs like Trees gave him a suspicious glace, but let him pass.  Stone Mover approached the fire, still blazing in the center of the village.  The elders were gathered there, unsure of what to do.  The babies and children had ceased their wailing.  The women held them close, ready to sacrifice themselves for their children.  One of the elders asked Stone Mover if She That Sees Twice had had a vision.
                “My sister can see nothing beyond this darkness.  She fears for us all.”  His words were heavy on the ears of the villagers.  She That Sees Twice had always been held at arm’s length by the people.  Her visions were often frightening and worrisome.  The fact that even she could not see beyond the unexpected night was unsettling.  One of the women let a great sob escape her lips.  As the cry rang out, the wind started blowing.
                A crackle echoed through the black sky.  It sounded like a great boulder had broken free of the mountain side.  It sounded two more times.  The villagers frantically searched for the cause of that terrible sound.  Stone Mover crouched down, prepared to spring at the first hint of danger.  The elders stood shoulder to shoulder, to bravely face whatever was coming.
                As suddenly as it disappeared, the sun slowly came back in to existence.  Stone Mover stood up, furtively looking about.  The woman that had cried out was once again silent.  The children looked up into the sky, blinking and rubbing their eyes.  Was the danger gone?  Was the sun back to stay?  A young boy, about eight years old suddenly hollered.  Pointing over the horizon, he shouted for everyone to look.
                Three figures were making their way toward the camp.  They moved slowly, with such grace as had never been seen before. They almost seemed to float above the ground.  A strange glow enveloped them, and steamed away like mist as they came closer. The women saw that they were beautiful.  The men immediately wanted to please them.  The boy that had first spotted them ran out from his mother’s embrace and waved a welcome to the three, beckoning them to the village.
                Suddenly, outside of the village, She That Sees Twice sat up in a panic.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Setting (and achieving!) Goals

A few months ago, my husband and I were talking about something when he told me that I have dreams, not goals.  That irked me.  A lot.  So, I decided I needed a set, defined goal.  That's when I started training for the Lake Placid Half Marathon.  It's 13.1 miles, and I've been in training for about 7 weeks.  I'm actually training by using the Couch to 10K program which you can read about here.

I don't know why it irked (what a great word!) me so much that J told me that I don't set goals.  I mean, it's mostly true.  I often start sentences with "When we win the lottery..." but we don't even buy lottery tickets.  I really needed a solid goal to set, something tough, yet achievable.  I think running half marathon meets the specifications.

However, another challenge awaits.  This is another goal, tough yet achievable, sweat inducing yet fun.  What is this goal, you may ask? (Or maybe not, I don't think anyone reads this blog anyway!)  A 50,000 word novel in a month.  It's almost time for NaNoWriMo!!

What in the name of Jane Austen is NaNoWriMo, my invisible reader may be pondering.  It stands for National Novel Writing Month.  The brilliant folks over at The Office of Letters and Light started this program in 1999 for everyone that's ever said "Some day, I'd like to write a book."  That day is now!  It isn't about quality, just QUANTITY.  Just write, write, write!  You "win" just by hitting that 50,000 word mark.  The only prize is honor, and I think maybe a cute web badge or something.  They offer pep talks throughout the month, and there are forums where you can chat, whine, rant, and celebrate with other crazy Wrimos.  Because that's what we're called.  And it's awesome.

This will be my fourth year participating in NaNoWriMo, and I'm hoping this is my year to "win".  My first effort helped me reach about 25,000 words, and I revisited that novel last year ending with about 43,000 words.  Fail and fail.  Oh well, at least I tried!  My second year was laughable, only about 4,000 words (in my defense, I was pregnant and I could. not. think. of. anything. else.  I totally had baby brain!)  I already have a title for this year's novel, The Tribunal, but I may change it.  Or not.  We'll see.  I have a great back story, some good characters, and an awesome climax.  I really feel like this novel will be my winner.  It's my first foray in to the world of sci-fi/supernatural fiction, but I'm super excited about it.

I've been pushing this Nano thing on my students for years, and I finally got one to sign up!  I think I may host some write-ins at the college library, to boost that word count!  So, what do you say, invisible readers? Will you join in a month-long journey to 50,000?

If writing isn't your thing, you can sponsor me in this crazy endeavor!  Just click the link on the upper right hand side of my blog!  All donations are tax deductible, and it's for a really great not-for-profit group. 

If you do sign up for NaNoWriMo, leave me a comment with your screen name!  We can be writing buddies throughout the month!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Light Weekend for Travel

One of my very good friends got hitched on Sunday.  J and I drove down Sunday afternoon (about 2 hours), and checked in to the Inn where the hitching was to take place.  We left Little Toots with my mom and sister (a gutsy move, and I'm nothing if not daring).  I didn't cry, and Little Toots was totally oblivious to the fact that we left her.  My sister sent me picture periodically, so I knew everything was fine.

The wedding was small, and beautiful.  The bride lucked out and got an unseasonably warm day, so she didn't freeze her cute little butt off in her gorgeous strapless dress.  I couldn't actually hear the ceremony, but I assumed it went well since no one ran away, slapped anyone, or caused a scene.  They kissed and had new jewelry at the end of it, so... 

The reception was fun, lots of dancing (I opted out of the line dances, thankyouverymuch!) I was drinking gin and tonics like they were going out of style, while J guzzled bourbon by the gallon.  Seriously, in all of our years together, I have never seen him so drunk.  And he's a funny drunk!  He reallyreallyreallyreally wanted to borrow a canoe and go paddling.  He also reallyreallyreallyreally wanted to swim across the lake and meet the rich people whose house was all lit up.  I sang a stunning rendition of the Beatles "Oh, darling", karaoke-style, and some guy fell down the stairs and possibly broke his ankle.  All in all, a successful night!


The next morning, only slightly hung over, we drove back home (2 hours).  When we got home, I snuggled Little Toots as much as she would allow (which isn't much).  J dashed around the house and cleaned (house keeping is not one of my mother's skills), and I packed and got ready to head out again.  My mom, my sister and I were heading down state because I had an interview the next day.  I said bye to L. T., and she reached out and cried "Mommy! Mommy!"  so I lost it, and cried and said I couldn't go.  Well, mom and sis shuffled me in the car, and I was off.  When we finally got to mom's house (4 hours), we ate dinner and watched TV, then went to bed.

My interview was at 2:00 the next day, but I wasn't sure how long it would take me, so I left at 11:00.  It took me 2.5 hours.  The drive was okay, although I got a little nervous as I entered the city.  It may be a small city, but I'm coming from back woods USA, so it's a big difference!  I (finally) found the Human Resources building, and I felt like I was stepping off the boat from the old country or something.  The building was so bright and shiny, and new!  Totally high tech.  The work-study students were super polite and professional, I was very impressed.  I finally get called in to meet Michelle, the HR lady (official title [no, not really]).  She thanks me for coming allllllllllllllllllllllll this way, and I understand it's a temporary position, right?

Um, NO?!  Seriously, what. The. Fuck.
Well, it was aaaaaaadvertised as temporary. 
No, it definitely WASN'T!  I soooooo don't waste my time applying for temp jobs.  Are you kidding me?! 

She's looking at me, and I'm looking at her, forcing a smile, and she says "Well, I guess this changes things?"  No shit, Sherlock.  No offense to Human Resources people out there, but you're all fucking worthless.  I mean, do they teach you how to waste time in college??  I grit my teeth and say "I'm already here, so I might as well be interviewed."

The actual interview went well, and there is a chance that it could become permanent.  It pays really well, so if they offer it to me, I'll take it.  Either way, we have no plan after May, so we might as well have no plan down there instead of up here.  At least down there, there is more opportunity.  In the ADKs, jobs are pretty scarce.

After the interview, I drove back to my mom's house (2.5 hours).  I slept, and drove home the next day (4 hours).  If you've done the math, that's 17 hours traveling in just four days.  I hope it's worth it!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Dread, and other emotions

Why dread, you ask?  Well, it's because I receive rough drafts from my students tomorrow. These are students that have no work ethic, no desire for any higher level thinking, students that would rather be baking or chopping down trees than discover anything new about themselves.  The husband says I'm paying my dues, that he went through it for 10+ years, first at my college, then at the local community college.  Now, he's happily teaching at a fairly prestigious college, where the students jump at the chance to do extra work. *le sigh*

Meanwhile, I'm at po-dunk junction, trying to teach 18-yea-olds how to read.  The class I'm teaching is a section of first year seminar, and I called it From Zero to Hero.  I decided to make the theme heroes because it's so accessible.  Heroes in myth, heroes throughout history, heroes of today.  I picked out two books that I think really show how one person can change the world.  The first is Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracey Kidder, and the other is Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson.  I specifically chose Three Cups of Tea because of the controversy surrounding it (mainly that he made most of it up, and the money is being ill-spent).

Mountains Beyond Mountains is a great book, and a fairly easy read.  I'm mean, it's not Faulkner or anything.  The story is really moving and it makes you think about the way 3rd world countries receive medical care, and how one person can not only change the way that diseases such as TB or AIDS is treated, but how the diseases are seen throughout the world.

I was so excited to teach this book!  Until we had our first reading quiz.  More than HALF of the students failed.  I didn't ask hard questions.  In fact, the questions I asked were so easy that you could have SKIMMED the chapters and gotten a 100.  The kids start complaining that they don't know what's important, they don't understand it, blah blah blah.  They just don't care.  I know that most of them came from a technical school, but is that an excuse for not being able to read??

Apparently, yes.  I was told that my reading schedule was "ambitious".  And that these kids aren't ready for a research paper.  Why the hell not?!  They graduated from high school, right?  They got into an expensive private college, right?  THEN WHY ARE WE NOT EXPECTING THEM TO BE AT A COLLEGE LEVEL??  This is seriously bothering me.  None of these kids are stupid.  Well.....maybe....no.  No.  None of them!  They are all capable of higher level thinking, and they are all capable of reading a book WRITTEN AT AN 8TH GRADE LEVEL, and they are ALL capable of writing a research paper.

Our education system is failing.  These students are a product of a failing system.

So, what can we do to change this?  It's not something that can be accomplished with baby steps.  We need to overhaul the entire system.  No Child Left Behind is leaving every child behind!  If education in something you care about, do your research.  Contact your local congress person and explain your concerns!  It's up to us to take action!

Get angry.  Get involved.  Get moving!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pre-Prego Pants

Who is that sexy momma strutting her stuff in those nice khaki pants? Oh, yeah, it's me! It's only taken me 18 months to get back to my pre-pregnancy pant size, and I'm gonna milk it for all it's worth! Granted, I don't totally look like I did before Little Toots started growing in my tummy; my hips are wider, my feet are bigger, and my boobs are, well...let's just say they look like they had been feed bags for a year. But, today, alleluia , praise be to the treadmill! Today, I bravely stepped into my pre-prego pants, buttoned them (could it be? really? could they fit?!) and TA-DA! I don't have massive muffin top. (Ok, there is a little muffin top, but I can totally hide it under my shirt.) How did I do it, you ask? Well, the secret can be YOURS for just $49.99....or, I can tell you about it for free.

Diet: Many will tell you that "diet" is a four letter word. It's true. See? I wrote it right over there <-----. But it's not a BAD word. Diet is simply what you eat. Everyone is on a "diet". Some have poor diets. I used to be one of these people. I literally ate fast food every single day during the summer of 2003. Sometimes twice a day. It was gross. I wasn't fat, but I certainly wasn't healthy. Then, during my semester off in 2006, I got very, very skinny. Again, I wasn't fat, but I certainly was not healthy. I ate very little, and drank a whole lot. After I met Hubby J, my diet improved. He is a wonderful cook, and we had no money so we couldn't afford to eat out. We worked at a farm stand, so veggies were super cheap.  When I got pregnant, J was on me constantly about eating right. I wasn't allowed to give in to my cravings...well, ok, maybe once or twice!

I haven't had fast food in almost a year, and to tell you the truth, I don't miss it at all.  I only drink soda occasionally, and I don't snack.  I try not to carbo-load, and I eat a ton of veggies.  I love chocolate, so I will eat dessert a few times a week.  Mmmmm, cookies!  So my diet isn't perfect, but compared to most Americans I'm doing really well.

Exercise: Currently, I'm on the Couch to 10K program, and it is AMAZEBALLS.  This summer, I started running and I pushed myself too hard.  I got shin splints, and it was so painful that I thought I broke my leg.  I figured that if I went balls to the walls, I could just melt away the fat.  Um, no.  It doesn't work like that.  When you're out of shape, you have to start slowly.  I noticed that a lot of my friends on Facebook were posting about Couch to 5K, and I thought 'Well, hey now, I can do that!'  I decided 5K was not a great goal, so I started the Couch to 10K program.  I bought an app for my iPhone, and it's the best purchase I've ever made!  The app actually tells you when to walk, when to run, when you're halfway through, and when it's time to cool down.  The program lasts 13 weeks.  Here is a sample of the schedule:

Week 4: Day 1: 5 min warm up, Run for 2 minutes walk for 3 minutes 11 times, 5 minute cool down.  62 mins total
Day 2: 5 minute warm-up, run for 2 mins, walk for 3 mins 9 times, 5 min. cool down. 52 mins total
Day 3: 5 min warm-up, run for 2 mins, walk for 3 mins 10 times, 5 min. cool down.  57 mins total.

Week 8: Day 1: 5 min warm-up, run 5 mins, walk 1 min 10 times. 69 mins total.
Day 2: 5 min warm-up, run 5 mins, walk 1 min 8 times, 5 min cool down. 57 min total.
Day 3: 5 min warm-up, run 5 mins, walk 1 min 9 times, 5 min cool down. 63 min total.

Week 10: Day 1: 5 min warm-up, run 10 mins, walk 1 min 4 times, 5 min cool down. 53 min total.
Day 2: 5 min warm-up, run 20 mins, walk 1 min, run 20 mins, 5 min cool down. 51 min total.
Day 3: 5 min warm-up, run 22 mins, walk 1 min, run 22 mins, 5 min cool down. 55 min total.

Week 13: Day 1: 5 minute warm-up, then run for 50 minutes, 5 minute cool down
Day: 2 Run 10K!

Tomorrow I'm on Day 3 of Week 4, and I'm excited!  I really like running like this.  I don't feel achy afterwards, and while I sweat like a hooker in church, it still feels good!  These 4 weeks of running has made me drop almost two pant sizes!  It really is incredible.

My long-term goal is to run at half marathon.  The Lake Placid half marathon, to be precise.  Registration begins in October, and I'm definitely signing up.  I figure that if I can run at 10K by November, I should be able to keep training in time to do a half marathon by June (it's about 21K).
Me, at my thinnest
Me, at my heaviest




















Hopefully, in another month, I will have another "skinny" picture, but this time, I'll be skinny AND healthy!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Teacher Appreciation

Q: What's the difference between high school freshman and college freshman?
A: Scrubby facial hair?  Because they act EXACTLY THE SAME!

Today was a teaching day, and as you can probably guess, it went swimmingly (they really need to make a "sarcastic" font).  Half of the kids were asleep, the other half were talking to each other, and the one or two that actually care earned major brownie points.  Granted, today's topic (How to Write a Thesis Statement) was a tad dry.  I dare anyone to show me how to make that subject fun.  As I was sitting there in front of a captive audience (captive in the sense that they couldn't leave class for another 40 minutes), I started reminiscing about teachers that I've had throughout my school career.

Mr. Turner - My 12th grade English teacher.  He actually created a class for a friend and me so that we didn't have to take Spanish 4 with some crazy lady that expected us to read Don Quixote in the original Spanish.  Um, no.  Anyway, Mr. Turner let us write the Senior Murder Mystery in lieu of a foreign language.  I must say, it was the most brilliant production ever to be put on at the H-town Elementary cafetorium (that's right, folks, a cafeteria/auditorium HYBRID!)  In our regular English class, he made even the most menial tasks fun.  It's probably the only class from high school I remember vividly.  Thanks, Mr. Turner.

Dr. Coleman - While he would never win a popularity contest at good ol' Potsdam, he was one of my favorite teachers.  I have a new found respect for this PhD that was stuck teaching Freshman composition, now that I'm faced with a freshman class of my very own.  Dr. Coleman expected a lot out of his students, and I think that's why I learned so much from him.  I enjoyed Renaissance Lit. so much I seriously considered going on to earn a PhD of my very own.  It was the first 4.0 I felt I worked really hard for.  Totally worth dealing with Dr. Cs breath (ew).  Thank you, Dr. Coleman.

Dr. Maus - The quintessential "cool" teacher.  I took as many classes as I could with him.  Simply knowing what he was talking about made me feel like a genius!  He's one of those guys that standing alone, wouldn't be much to look at, but add intelligence to the equation and BOOM - salivating sophomores line up outside his door for office hours.  He really encouraged my academic writing, and I discovered my "voice".  True story: In our folklore and mythology class, we had to present to the class.  My topic was the 8-fold path to enlightenment.  Dr. Maus, being enthusiastic, kept interrupting the presentation, and pretty much stepped all over what I wanted to say.  So, in my evaluation of the class, I just suggested that he not interrupt presentations. Fast forward to next semester, day one of some upper division lit class.  Dr. Maus is doing his first day spiel and he looks right at me and says "Megan, let me know if I'm talking too much."  AHHHH!  I could have died right there!  Those damn things are supposed to be CONFIDENTIAL!  He didn't hold a grudge, though.  Thanks, Dr. Maus.

Dr. Kenny - Take him, or leave him.  Dr. Kenny is who he is, no apologies about it.  You had to be interviewed to enroll in his poetry workshop.  He told everyone that he only let in pretty women and ugly men (alienating the entire class on the first day, that's just how he rolls)  He even kicked everyone out once when we didn't have an assignment done - that he never got around to assigning.  At times, he made you want to bang your head against the desk and burn every single poem you ever though was worth something, because, according to Dr. Kenny, it's absolute rubbish.  It was like the Gordon Ramsey approach to writing.  "What is this?? You'll bloody KILL SOMEBODY!!!!!!!!"  However, when I was in my grad program, he asked me to be a part of an "old timers" poetry reading - basically, his favorite students.  I was incredibly touched.  Thank you, Dr. Kenny.

Teaching isn't easy, and it doesn't always feel worth the time and effort.  But, if you're lucky, you'll reach someone and change the way they feel about themselves, school, or life in general.  Thank a teacher today!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Daddy's Girl

I was in labor for about 22 hours, 16 of which were spent in the hospital.  I pushed for around an hour and a half, drug-free at that point.  And as soon as my little girl emerged from the nice, warm home I made for her, everyone exclaimed "Oh my God, she looks just like her daddy!"  The nurses teased that at least we knew for sure who the father was (hardy-har-har), while I scanned her face for some similarity between us.  Nope, nada.  She was definitely her daddy's daughter.

I expected her to grow and look more like me.  Wrong again!  She has his smile, his frown, his concentrating gaze, she even gives me the same withering stare when I do something silly.  Except for the red hair (which comes directly from my dad, thankyouverymuch) she is alllllllllllll J.

Little Toots also prefers her Papa to me.  If I try to kiss her, she pushes me away and declares "No!"  If I pick her up, she squiggles and squirms until I have to put her down for fear of dropping her!  She wants Daddy to change her (that I don't mind), Daddy to take her outside, Daddy to push her on the swing.  Daddy Daddy Daddy.  Excuse me, I was the one in labor for TWENTY TWO HOURS, kid, not to mention the permanent damage done to my bladder, the stretch marks, and the saggy pancakes that were once my perky boobies!  Seriously folks, I used to have a figure, and now I look like one of those tribal women in Africa that have never had the pleasure of a Victoria's Secret in their village. 

Moving on.

Yes, so the baby looks like my husband, but does she act like him?  Yeah, because I'd be that lucky!  No, no, she acts just like me!  As much as she resembles J physically, emotionally she is me!  She has a screaming fit if she can't do something right the first time, and all hell brakes loose if you try to help her, because she HAS to do it by herself.  Sheesh!  She hates socks, and she is an incredibly picky eater.  Yup, that's me in a nutshell.  But she has some of my good qualities, too.  She loves music, and bops along when I sing in the car.  She seems to like books, although at this point she just turns the pages and call it a day.  She's a talker, which I think is good (but my father might disagree!)

I can find a bit of J and a bit of myself every time I look at Little Toots, but I'm more excited to see who she is going to be - a beautiful, red-headed, unique, and brilliant little girl.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Aa-choo!

Busy day today!  Mom-in-law was up visiting Little Toots, and she brought me a TON of yarn! Expect to see my latest project soon. No time to write anything witty, so I thought I should just share one of my favorite videos of the baby.

I submitted this to America's Funniest Videos, but I don't think we got on :(


video
Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Intervention


Hi.  My name is Megan, and I'm addicted to butter.  Sweet, glorious butter!  Whether generic or Lake o Lakes, with the Indian lady's knee/boobie peek-a-boo trick, butter is amazing.  Without it, toast would just be crunchy bread, and butter-cream frosting would be non-existent!  And poor Paula Dean would be unemployed!

My love affair with butter started at an early age.  I was an anti-sauce kid, so I ate my pasta with butter.  Rice with butter.  Veggies with butter.  My mom tried to switch to margarine for awhile, but I staged a coup and butter was quickly reinstated at the family condiment of choice.  At restaurants, we would always have to ask for extra packets of butter for our rolls.  I mean, do they really expect that one tiny square to sufficiently cover a roll?  Really?? It's not like my excessive butter use was harming me; I was an active child, and skinny to the point of awkwardness.  Butter wasn't slowing me down, not one bit!

However, when I arrived at college, I stopped my normal routine. I usually had a dance class or play rehearsal every day after school - at college, I had way too much free time, which I normally spent bumming around with my friends.  A sedentary life style, along with my love of butter led my down the path of the dreaded Freshman 15.  And Sophomore 20.  It was not a pretty picture.  Did this stop my buttery obsession?

No!

I still smear it on bagles, bread, pasta, pastries, everything.  Today, I decided to bring leftover spaghetti and meatballs to work for lunch.  Hubby watched as I added a few pats of butter to the spag before scooping up some sauce.  He shook his head in utter dismay and said "Megan, we need to have a butter intervention."

"What, why?" I asked, wondering if I should lick the buttery knife clean.

"Butter is ruining your life!  I don't want to come home one day and find you covered in butter!  Think of the baby!!"  I could see his mind swimming with images of me, sitting on the kitchen floor, shoveling sticks of butter into my mouth a la Homer Simpson.

I know I should cut back, or even quit.  Not just for my health, but to set a good example for Little Toots.  Butter is a sometimes food.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Key to a Happy Marriage; or Where the BLEEP are my Shoes?!


I’m not what you would call a “morning person”.  In fact, I’m the antithesis of a morning person.  Each morning, I crack open my eyes just wide enough to view the alarm clock so very rudely pointing out that I had, in fact, five more minutes to sleep.  Grumbling, I turn off the alarm before it sounds, swing my feet out of bed and tip toe to the bathroom, because if I walk like a normal person, Little Toots will hear me and immediate demand a diaper change.  Inevitably, she’ll wake up just as I plop myself on to the (freezing!) toilet seat.  I tinkle faster than humanly possible, and rush to her room only to discover that my husband has beat me to it.  Hmrph.  So, I wander into the shower, which spitefully switches from cold water to hot water erratically.  Goose bumped or second-degree burned, I brush my teeth, throw on an “outfit”, slap some make-up on and head downstairs.  At this point, I just want to get in the car and head to work, because at work I have one hour to myself before anyone comes in.  One full hour, in which I can check my email, listen to music, take my shoes off, and just breathe.

My husband is a morning person.  He’s annoyingly cheery, and somehow finds time to feed Little Toots, pack her bag, drink coffee, listen to NPR, and fiddle with his computer.  I look like a soppy wet rat, and my clothes don’t match, but he’s sitting there playing some MMORPG called Doom or Slash or something. He drops Little Toots off at daycare while I scarf down some grown-up cereal (i.e Super Colon Cleanse Bran Flakes, the off-brand) and try to get organized.  Today is a teaching day, and I’m super stressed because my kids are uncooperative little *expletive deleted*.  I look at the clock and realized that I should have left five minutes ago, but I can’t find my shoes.

Me: “Where are my shoes?  The black ones?”

Husband: “I don’t know.”

Me: “I left them by the door, did you move them?  Or did Little Toots move them because you know how she likes to carry my shoes around.  Or they under the couch?  Did she leave them in the middle of the floor, so you put them somewhere else?

Husband: “I don’t know.”

Me (getting angry): “They are my ONLY pair of black shoes, and I’m late!”

At this point I’m crawling around on my hands and knees to see if the baby stashed them under the couch, but all I found were two board books, a plastic number “3”, and a remote control.  My husband has gone upstairs to look, and returns empty handed.

Me: “I’m late, what am I gonna do? You always move my stuff, you never leave it where it is!  Don’t touch my stuff…” I’ve gone from speaking English to speaking some other worldly, screeching dialect.  I am completely irrational, rant and raving like a lunatic.  If this were Homer, I’d be tearing my hair and beating my breast.  I marched up the stairs, and lo and behold, under the pile of dirty clothes, I discover my shoes.  Now, obviously, I wore them upstairs and left them there, but it’s the morning and I’m a banshee.  I swoop down the stair and hoist the shoes into my husband’s face and say “I thought you looked upstairs?! I didn’t leave them there!  How did they get there?  YOU must have moved them!!”

I think, at this point, any normal male would be like, Woman, you are insane and I’ve had enough of this.  But no, not my man.  He just looks at me, gives me a hug, and sends me out of the door.  I have been screaming at him for literally ten full minutes and he just scoots me out, and goes about his business.  After I’ve been at the office for a while, I give him a call and apologize.  He tells me it’s ok, and we chat for a bit, ending the call by saying “I love you”.  This isn’t the first time that this fight has happened, and I know it won’t be the last.

The key to a happy marriage, or our happy marriage at least, is to let the crazy person come to their own realization that they are a crazy person, and never, EVER move their shoes.