Spin Cycle – Love!

This week’s theme is “Things I love…” which is really awesome because I have been needing to make a list.

Second Blooming

  • Dusk; just as the sun is the lowest in the sky before dipping below the horizon
  • Any song from Jimmy Buffett’s album “Boats, Beaches, Bars, and Ballads.”
  • Fireflies in my yard during the summer months
  • Trail running, though I rarely do it
  • Random acts of kindness
  • Naps
  • Thinking about beach vacations
  • Lattes
  • Pens and pencils/ writing on actual paper
  • Days when my kids are so kind to me and each other
  • Days when my children sleep in
  • Days when I don’t feel exasperated by everything
  • The OPI nail polish color “Dusk over Cairo”
  • Driving by myself in the evenings to the store
  • Leather-bound books
  • Non-fiction books
  • Romance books (but not all)
  • Buying a new pair of jeans
  • Taking mini-work vacations (i.e. close out your browser and listen to music for ten minutes.)
  • Blogging
  • These guys:

That’s about all I can think of for now. How abotu you? What do you love?

Writer’s Workshop – Thief!

Mama’s Losin’ It’s weekly writer’s Meme!

3.) Write about a time you stole something.

I was a good kid. I hated getting in any sort of trouble at school and I was usually  the kid in charge to make sure no one else did. Heck, I was a hall monitor! But the very first time I officially stole an item was in 8th grade. I liked a boy named Tony Long and he rode his bike about, oh, maybe 10-15 blocks all the way to my house and then we’d ride around my neighbourhood. There was a comic book shop and a Blockbuster Video and a Walgreens pretty close by so we frequented those places. One day when we were browsing the candy aisle at the store, Tony thought it would be fun to steal some Airheads. The blue ones, if I remember correctly.

It’s not that we didn’t have money; I always had money from something – chores or babysittting or grandparents – so it was the thrill of taking something illegally. I knew it was a bad idea and my conscience was screaming at me to just stop quickly jamming that gummy blue candy into my pocket but we did and he took more and we tried to be as cool as possible when we walked out. I don’t even remember if I looked at the cashier as we left but I know once we were on our bikes, we pedaled like mad back to my house and I felt guilty for the entire day!

Tony is one of those guys I can’t reconnect with on Facebook. Through a friend I did find on FB who stayed in Hollywood way after most of my other friends, I found out that he joined the military after high school. I sometimes wonder what paths he chose. Not all people who commit juvenile offenses turn out badly, I know, but  can’t help wonder, you know?

Mushy mess

My normal Wednesday meme host is taking a break while her daughter is home from college so I’m actually pressed to produce real, true content. Is that an oxymoron? Real… true. We watched Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close on Monday and I liked the part about oxymorons. My friend, Pete, didn’t like the movie; I asked him because he frequently teaches the book to his Literature students. I think if I’d read the book – based on what he told me – I probably wouldn’t have liked the movie’s changes either. I haven’t cried like that in a movie in quite some time. I’m talking for sustained periods of time; the movie tortured the audience in certain scenes (every answering machine scene, any mother/son scene) and I was a mess. But I’m glad we watched it. Movies like that help put your life in perspective.

I vowed not to get on Elliot so much after watching that movie. Unfortunately, he’s going through a particularly awful phase. He’s sweet one moment and “normal” and the next, he’s taunting his brother, being a little brat (Nan na na na na, you can’t get me) and saying ugly things (In reaction to “go brush your teeth” : I hate you, mom.) He’s completely irrational. Last night, he had the most unexplainable melt-down. I am not even sure I can recreate a picture for you of how he devolved into this horrible mess. Perhaps it started with the fact that the puzzle we’re working on (1,000 pieces!) was “taking too long.” You see, Elliot has always been exceptional with puzzles. Very early on he was doing larger ones while his peers couldn’t barely do a Melissa and Doug board puzzle. His teachers mentioned it too; he excels at them. However, this gave him a complex about his ability to “dominate a puzzle.” So when we tackled this new one, he was all gung-ho at first until he hit a hard part and, as is his M.O. lately, he gives up very easily. Ash and I continued to work on the border and Elliot started his melt-down. He laid on the floor of the office and complained about he wasn’t going to get the glory for doing the puzzle and yet, still wouldn’t help.

At this point, it was 8 PM so we figured he was just tired and maybe he’d had a bad day at school so I ran the bath and you’d think I’d asked him to cut his arm off with how he howled and fought. Ash and I took this all in stride and let him flail about. After his bath, he was still angry about God-knows-what and he threw a flashlight at the door, which was rope’s end for us and he did not get a book before bed. That’s when the sobbing began and he just couldn’t seem to calm down. All in all, it took about 30 minutes before he was able to speak without gulping and slobbering everywhere. I couldn’t tell you what came over him but I think he’s at a particularly emotional and thoughtful period in his life (remember, he’s just beginning to understand death in his own little almost 5 way) so perhaps he just feels overwhelmed.

This morning, he didn’t argue about getting dressed or anything. He put up a slight fuss about carrying his lunch bag to the car but I typically ignore that kind of B.S. Surprisingly, my children are one of the last aspects of my life that stress me out. I worry more about jobs and money than I do them, directly. Obviously the other two are indirectly related since they affect their lives. I believe that if you take all the kid stuff with a grain of salt and stick to your guns about the important stuff, they’ll turn out just fine. I did, Ash did, and our parents did most of that.

I don’t know the point of this post but this was the last thing I really dealt with. Aside from that it’s all work and teaching (these athletes, smh. I love ’em but they are really slacking off.) I’m hoping that all my upcoming things (tattoo, vacations, etc.) will alleviate some of my ennui about life. But probably not. All I can do is keep watching extremely emotional movies so I can experience at least a few hours of profoundness. And then, when marathon training starts, it’ll be a whole new ballgame. Training changes everything in your life. I can’t wait.


Random (Talk to us) Tuesday – Three days slips away


Seriously Shawn

To be honest, I probably could have blogged yesterday but the three day weekend went by ::snap:: like that.

  • Three day weekends are always good until that third day and then the kids feel like their routine is out of whack and go all wonky on me. This time, however, the first day was the weird one. Neither kid was very good on Saturday.
  • But we recovered just fine and Sunday and Monday included lots of chillin’ out, pool-time, and eating. I think we ate all weekend long.
  • Unfortunately, this has been the weekend of unexpected costs. For starters, my oldest dog needs to have a tooth removed because it’s cracked. Secondly, a tree we were planning to have taken down later this summer has to come out in 30 days because the city cited us for it being dead, which only happened a little while ago because it was apparently struck by lightning. Now, we’re having our A/C replaced – as I have mentioned –  so we’re already spending a lot right now. Now is not the time for things to randomly appear!
  • This made me feel VERY guilty about the KJP bracelet I bought on Thursday. Dammit, just when I think I can safely blow a little cash, SOMETHING comes up. Fate? Coincidence? Pure bad luck?
  • I think maybe it’s a sign: be better with your money, keep holding out, don’t spend for fun. I’ve been doing it for so long now, what’s a little while longer?
  • What’s your major splurge? I know we probably all struggle with money (well, the majority of us probably do) but where do you not hold back? I really want to know!
  • Ok, this one was short but I have a million and one things to accomplish today. I offer you two bits of Man Candy today: one for the masses and then one by special request. Impulsive Addict, it’s artsy but it’ll do. Perhaps next week I’ll go whole hog for ya. ;)

Tobias Sorensen, a model famous for his facial scar. He’s oh-so manly, in my opinion.

And a sort of artsy nude under the cut. You’re welcome!

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Friday Confessional – What?


I confess… This summer teaching schedule is kicking my ass. Mostly, though, because I am keeping up and doing everything I mean to with these students. Some semester, I let stuff slide because we’re all busy or other dumb reasons. But these kids are going to learn how to write a good research paper if it kills me.

I confess… there has been on overabundance of hot guys on my tumblr dash this week and it reminds me that, sometimes, I’d rather spend my days scrolling through nonsense and hot dudes than do work. Alas, work is always there, still waiting.

I confess…Speaking of work, I still have papers to grade today. Sadly.

I confess…. I have been stalking my soon-to-be tattoo artist on Instagram and every time he posts a new piece of work, I get a wee bit more excited. Next Friday, people!

I confess… I got a paycheck today and I really just want to go shopping without guilt. I have actually yet to accomplish this… ever. I wish I could walk up in the mall and just buy things I wanted without thinking,  “should I really do this?”

I confess… I am itching to see The Avengers again. Tumblr is totally suckering me into shipping Clint/Natasha (oh, sorry, Hawkeye and Black Widow) and, well, it was a good movie regardless.

Well, that’s it for this week. Confess away!

Writing Prompts – My new fave Thursday meme

Mama’s Losin’ It has an awesome writing prompt game she plays. I chose:

4.) Share a picture that you think captures Spring for your family this year.

The kids shuffle out of the car and run fast as their little bodies can propel them into the woods that surround Tom Brown park, a vast expanse of undeveloped land smack in the middle of a relatively urban area. We forgo walking/general use trails to navigate harder mountain bike trails. I am sure that *most* of their landscape is natural but I can tell that the parks and rec people have purposely put a few more obstacles there. This makes it even more exciting, since we don’t actually live in a mountainous area perfect for hiking.

The excitement of the unknown – animals or bugs we may see – spurs them and even though Isaac is little and wants to be held at one point, they both love being outside and exploring and the change of pace out here in the sprightly bright sun that peeks through clearings and paints the tree leaves in splashes of gold and honey.

We come upon a rest stop upon the Cadillac trail that overlooks a valley, now crisp and brown from the past “winter”. In the foreground are the train tracks that did once carry Amtrak passengers. Elliot is prompted to ask a million questions about trains; I keep hoping one will come along but I know that the freight cars only pass through here in the early morning or late night hours. I know because I hear their whistle as I’m drifting off to sleep. Sounds carries differently at night.

We spend maybe an hour wandering about the trails, only seeing a few other people, then head back towards the big playground that has rubber stuff and squishy kid-fall-proof ground. The dichotomy is painfully obvious to me but the kids roll with everything, take it as it comes. And appreciate just being free.

I appreciated the time we spent not being caught up in the hustle and bustle of life.

WWTK – Really Random Stuff


Hosted by Mamarazzi and Crazymama

{1} Tell us about your job/daily routine.

Oh man, ok. I wake around 5:45, get the kids all ready for school then drive to FSU’s campus where I am a program admin for First year Comp in the English department. My job is kind of hard to explain; I deal with the grad TAs who teach and then freshmen as well. It’s one of those jobs where, depending on the time of the semester, I am either really busy or really NOT. So, I also teach a class here. Normally it’s a 50 minute MWF class but right now, I am teaching summer session so it’s Monday – Thursday for 1.5 hours each day. In between, I also grade papers online.
{2} What is your favorite place in your home to relax? (bonus points for a pic)

If no one is home, I’ll go into Isaac’s room (which has been the baby room since 2006) and sit in this big comfy chair. The below pic is of me journaling there when pregnant with Elliot. I think I was probably 8 months along in that shot.

{3} Summer cool treat…popsicle or icecream?

Mmmm… popsicles. I do love ice cream but if it’s a super hot day and the kids are outside playing in the pool or sprinkler, there’s nothing like a nice fruity popsicle. (Other than beer, of course.)

{4} Be sweet to yourself, list 3 things you LIKE about YOU!

That I DO like? Ok ok, I have some seriously killer calves, I like that once I get to talking to someone, I think I could discuss just about anything and I think people really like that about me, and I like my loyalty. I am loyal almost to a fault.

{5} If someone saw my __________ I would likely die of embarrassment!

I will say side of the bed, even though it’s not easy to embarrass me; I think all things build character. But you know how Monica has that one closet that Chandler found and it was stuffed full of junk? (I HOPE you get this Friends reference) My side of the bed is my Monica closet. I have shoes and a pile of magazines and clothes. Ash hates it! But we all get one place to slack off.

Random (Talk to us) Tuesday – Contemplative and Shtuff


Seriously Shawn

Ok folks, I promise to comment today, unlike last week.

  • This week will be a one-day-at-a-time kind of pace or else I will seriously lose my mind. Although I have to say, I feel a lot more clear-headed than I did last week. I seriously forgot about five things and that is rare for me. I was juggling too many balls and I dropped them. And it wasn’t in comedic clown fashion either.
  • All I ever want to eat lately are cheese and crackers. Specifically, cheddar on Triscuits. I don’t know what it is but I cannot get enough. And I haven’t wanted other foods, though I eat plenty of things. Last night, the kids had popcorn chicken and barbecue sauce and though I hardly ever eat BBQ sauce, I was really into it. My food tastes go in very weird cycles. Right now, I’d really love a chocolate chip muffin.
  • Though this is more of a Friday Confessional piece, I have to tell you that I started to freak out when Ash wasn’t home at a reasonable time on Saturday. I started thinking about how to contact the Coast Guard and the fact that I had no float plan so the only thing I knew was that it was 4 guys who put their boat in the water in Panacea. I kept putting together stupid little things like how bad stuff happens in threes and I know two people who have died recently so there was THAT. Then, oh, I don’t know… I started thinking the worst. What would I do if he died? It was a really low moment for me and I felt a wee bit stupid when he finally did call (see, I’d called him but it went straight to voice mail. No service or at the bottom of the Gulf??) and told me they were fine and driving back. OF COURSE they were but you know, I have to freak out sometimes. It’s how I stay balanced.
  • Elliot went with me to the store yesterday and randomly he asked, “Remember when we went to the pet store and that one fish was dead? Why did he die?” And I told him it was natural causes and that fish don’t live very long. And he asked if he was going to die. And then he thought about it. And then he started to understand. See, earlier, he saw Ash’s gun in the closet and we explained to him why we have it (“Is it for monsters?” “No, for things far worse than monsters.”) and we said it could kill him if he messed around with it. So this on top of our discussion led to him being very sombre and then, quietly, “Mommy, I don’t want to die.” And this is when I had to stop talking about it because for as long as I can remember, I have had panic attacks when I think about death. It’s not always; like, right now, I’m totally OK typing this. But as he said that in such a tiny innocent voice, I lost it. The inevitable hopelessness took over and I told him he’d have to talk to daddy about that. Mommy is strong in many ways but not there, son. Not there.
  • SO, ::clap clap:: this has been depressing. But my life’s been hectic and overwhelming and made me realize that sometimes, I like the day to day routine and the mundane tasks and just plodding along through work and home life without any mishaps or insanity. And though almost of the busyness has come from fun activities, it’s still been a lot to handle.
  • I didn’t have time to run at all last week. I ran Sunday and then again this past Sunday. One week in between! My muscles had begun to atrophy so I was sore but I knew I had to get in a run because I have been, well, not so good about eating healthy foods. My Sunday run was a good one; sometimes first thing in the morning I’m still so zombiefied that I’m not thinking about all the peripheral junk that can ruin a run. As I was on my way back, somewhere in mile 3 of 5, I realized one of the reasons I do love running. See, Ash and I have this joke about how I love to struggle. I feel like if I don’t struggle through something then maybe it’s not worth doing. With running, you struggle then get a big payoff in the end. The satisfaction of finishing a race is like nothing else I have experienced.
  • These entries have been really long, haven’t they?
  • In trying to come up with a short one, I actually sat and stared at my computer for a god solid minute, but nothing came to mind. But the brief zone-out was sort of nice.
  • WELL, better cut it off because I’ve probably bored you to tears. To make up for it, this is my humble offering. Overalls have been out of style for decades but, well, he makes them look good.

Craziness recap + MMMM

I am really hoping that this week will be slightly less crazy than the last one because I am burned out!

On Thursday, Elliot graduated from VPK (pre-K, for those who are used to the old school terminology) and his ceremony began around 5:30. The whole school participates in the program but then there’s a separate thing just for the grads. It was nice and I cried, of course, but only because you realize just how fast kids grow up. Right after their little program, we headed to the community pool where, each year, our daycare rents it out for the evening for them to play. It’s always a blast for them because there’s a whole kid area with slides, etc. Then they get pizza and cake and everyone gets to let loose. Well, the kids anyway. We didn’t get home until almost 8:45, which is Ell’s bedtime and WAY past Isaac’s.

The next morning, we dropped Isaac off at daycare then met our friends (whose kid also goes to school with Ell) at a certain loc so we could caravan with them and some other parents up to Wild Adventures. What a great time we had though. It was an all-day affair filled with rides and animals and food. I was feeling brave that day and went on a couple coasters, but nothing crazy. Ash went on this Boomerang thing and this other nutty Cheetah ride. He hates drops the same as I do but he’ll suck it up and face his fears whereas I cannot. The highlight of the day was when we did this log ride and got completely soaked. I don’t think we were really aware of how wet you’d get. We thought the people getting off the boat before us had been up on the splash deck that sits above the ride. Nope. You get drenched. So that was interesting; for about 2 hours I was just totally wet and sort of uncomfortable. We finished up with some river rapids ride and it seats 9 but on one part, only about 2-3 people will get the water. Yep, me again.

(Look for the Batman shirt; that’s Elliot and me)

(The wet ride)

Wet all the way home (about an hour and 10) but then we decided to go out to dinner with our friends (after we picked up our respective younger children) so we all had some awesome Mexican (and margaritas) before finally getting home. I didn’t even get to change out of my wet clothes either because Isaac had to go to bed and my new sod came (from where the city ripped up my yard to put in our new gas lines) so I had to mess with that before the sun set. Finally, though, I took a hot shower and fell fast asleep.

Now Ash had previous plans to go fishing with some friends on Saturday so he spent another entire day out in the sun. One day was enough but I don’t envy him the second. Saturday was very long and trying, as my children were both awful. I don’t know what got into them but they were exceptionally argumentative and pushy. I was exhausted by the time Ash got home and I was totally ready to hand the reigns over to him. Of course, he didn’t actually get home until after 7, which seems late. Turns out the people he went with were novices at this whole boating thing. I did start to worry around 5:30 or so because when our neighbours go out, that’s about the time they get back. And I didn’t have a float plan or anything on them. Supposedly the guys were going to spend the day drinking but on the drive out, one of Ash’s friends knocked into him and sent his glasses right off into the surf. Gone. Ash was PISSED and didn’t feel like drinking anymore. It sounds like it was an awful day but he did catch A fish, so I guess that makes it ok.

On Sunday, we all really just needed a day to recover. I ran first thing, around 7:30, and we went to Costco, had a big lunch, then napped. I mowed and fertilized in the afternoon then we watched Puss in Boots later ion the evening. All in all, we did a ton and had a great time. The only thing I missed was my friend’s dad’s funeral but I had no one to watch the kids and, honestly, I don’t do funerals so it worked out.



Vacation theme! Oh Lindsey Buckingham, you were better with Fleetwood Mac but this song did rock.

Bryan Adams’ contribution to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, which I watched over and over and over when I was 13.

The Indiana Jones theme is one of the best things John Williams has ever composed.

Of course, Williams also composed the Superman theme which is one of the best of ALL TIME.

There you have it; my contribution to this week’s theme of Theme Songs from Movies. I hope everyone has a good and productive week!

Spin Cycle – Pictures

Second BloomingI think I’ll take this one quite literally today.

I LOVE taking pictures. I HATE being in pictures. I’ll do it but I am typically the one behind the camera. Looking back at photos of myself as a child, my mother is in a lot of them because it was my father who had he knack for photography. I specifically remember a very exact time. I was perhaps 3 or 4 and my father and I were in our dining room. By the light, I think it was about 4 PM and he was taking my picture by the table; maybe the lighting was just perfect or I was doing something cute but it’s the first time I can remember being prompted to act a certain way for the camera.

Because I am at work, I have no access to the old scans but one of my all-time goals is to collect my parents’ boxes of pictures and get them digitized. Since 2003, I have been taking digital photos but there is something magical about those old actual hold-in-your-hand pictures. I used to love to look through the photo albums of my family. It conjured up so many good (and some bad) memories. Then, when I got older and got my own cameras, I prided myself on taking good shots and getting the film developed.

I hold the capturing of a moment in time very dear. I’ve always been a collector and a diary-keeper so this makes a lot of sense. I want to know what we were doing in X year on X day. I have perhaps an unhealthy fascination with the past; I guess I think I’ll eventually learn something from it!

As an added bonus, I shall share some photos from long ago. Ok, well, eight years ago but that’s how far back my online collection goes.