Used to be her town

I’m on this Google Earth kick and currently – between grading papers and checking Facebook – I am driving east on Hollywood boulevard towards the ocean. I just passed the former Hollywood Mall and the train station. Now I am in the area where there was a liquor store. My dad went in there a c0uple times a year to buy things for my grandfather. James Taylor’s Her Town Too came on Pandora and I find my heart aching for the feeling of being little and riding in the car down this palm tree lined road. It’s unnerving how well I can remember being young and what that felt like. I know so many people who put their past in the past and don’t utilize anything from their childhood. I use it to identify with my children and to spawn good feelings/good moods.

But I am already in a great mood today; as I posted on Facebook, we saw an amazing rainbow between rainy clouds all the way to daycare. Then I got sidetracked trying to photograph it and took another route. I ended up parallel to Thomasville on the other side of town and decided to ride Meridian to Monroe and then on to work. And somehow, I got all green lights. I mean, the entire way across town! The key now is to hold on to this good feeling. Music helps – my Ambrosia Pandora station likes to play James Taylor, Player, and Air Supply. All of this culminates into a feeling of belonging. I used to belong to Hollywood and, for a time, the Orlando area. There are songs I identify with those places and when I look at the same places on GE, I am instantly transported back. It’s an amazing phenomenon that this technology can aid in memory.

What also helps is being productive. I’m tying up some loose ends and working on my Fall syllabus. In a few hours I’ll go to Target. Shopping always lifts my spirits, even if I’m only purchasing undershirts and shampoo. Plus, I get time to myself. Shopping alone so very rarely occurs. I almost always have one if not two OR all three kids attached to me. And any parent knows: it is not easy to take them places. Sometimes they’re wonderful: behaving and quiet and grateful. But for the most part, herding them and wrestling them into any kind of submission is nigh impossible.

But they aren’t always bad and I have to remind myself that things really are great. And I must tell myself that just because it got all cloudy and sad outside, today is still going to be amazing. Today IS amazing.

Closing, opening

I have read a few blog posts lately wherein the writer was keenly aware that the summer – as it applies to the school year – is coming to a close and everything feels so very imminent. Backpacks and supply lists and Fall sports… it’s all coming; knocking at our doors. But I also read a few about how this mindset cuts off valuable “summer” time and activities. I said it earlier this summer: we could still go to the beach after August but why don’t we? The weather will start to get more bearable and the beach will be perfect. We so quickly give up the summer dreams when school begins because so too does the drudgery. I love the new semester in college – everything is so new and full of hope. But it quickly becomes day after day of WORK. The kids feel it too: homework and they’re tired and we just have less usable time to just hang out.  But I think we utilized our summer pretty well in that aspect. We hung out, we sunbathed, we hiked, we dallied, we goofed off, we ate and drank. I imagine that as the kids age, it’ll only get better. And though Fall is upon us soon, I look forward to the years to come.

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Random Tuesday – In need of new blog prompts

Stacy

My my, this month is going quickly, eh?

  • So I am in a few Facebook groups for things like “I grew up in X city” but I hardly ever post because once you do, you get all the notifications and it’s ding ding ding all day long. But I posted something yesterday that got a bunch of people started, mostly because no one could agree on which mall this one store was in. It’s funny: I remembered exactly. Unless my memory has totally failed me… but I pride myself on remembering a lot about my childhood.
  • There was a farmer’s market and seafood store my parents often went to and this road beside it was so rural, it surprised me. We lived in a very urban area and to see a wide open field complete with an actual barn always amazed me. I looked at Google Earth and found that this area has been turned into a new housing development. Of course.
  • I guess the problem with Google Earth – for me – is that I go back to see places I once visited and they’ve mostly changed. So it’s just sad.
  • But I am emotional this week. Small things make me incredibly sad. Someone posted a link to this video of Jeopardy answer fails and I just felt bad for all those people.
  • Then I saw an article about this sad dog who had been through all kinds of torment. This made me feel bad that our dogs get kind of ignored sine the advent of children. Sure, I still feed them and give them their monthly meds and we do try to walk them often but man, it’s hard to give them the same attention they once got. I mean, kids take up so much of my time and energy.
  • I had a dream last night that I was living in an apartment with my college roommates, except we were just as old as we are now. And everyone was where they are now. Like, K is a runner so she left early to do a 10 mile with her dog and C’s husband was apparently out shopping but her little sister was there, though her sister was like, 8. Her sister was 8 when we were in college! T was there too but not around much and I kept looking for my family. It was a weird weird dream.
  • We don’t have stairs but look how cool this is!91d1980fe4eda3954434c016bfcbf57b
  • That would be awesome – maybe in our next home.
  • Now that my money troubles are better, I feel the intense desire to shop. I don’t NEED anything though. I mean, I can’t think of one single thing I really need. Now wants, on the other hand, are a different story.
  • That’s all for now; I have work to do and I also brought some reading to do. Amazing; I might get to read!

 

MMMM + One of the better weekends I can remember

As I sit here, quietly sipping my coffee and enjoying the fact that NO ONE is around this week, I find myself both exceptionally grateful for the life I have and reminiscent. If you checked in on Friday, you may have witnessed my decline into stress/money-related whining. Well, all problems have – technically – been solved. Had I checked my email at 11:30 AM on Friday, I would have seen that my second online section got approved so money worries are over. I did not, however, check until about 7:45 that night and when I did? The boys and I had a mini screaming party. I was all like, “Yes!! Yes!!!” and then when I yelled in excitement, they yelled and used it as a reason to jump around like fools. It was a hell of a lot of fun and such a huge relief.

But that was after Ash and I went to Cracker Barrel for lunch and saw Guardians of the Galaxy, which WAS as good as everyone is saying. Pretty awesome!

On Saturday we woke up and had breakfast, worked out, then I mowed the lawn. We went to Sonny’s for lunch, Target after, then once everyone went down for naps, Elliot and I went to the Goodwill bookstore. He’d been begging me for more books so he got 3 and it cost me… $5.50. Sweet deal! We all ended up napping, then having chicken tacos and watching Hobbit 2.

Sunday was also good: breakfast then more mowing  (Ash did his portion) and errands before having a quick lunch and going to the pool. It was cloudy on and off but we still got in a good two hours and everyone had fun. And I got to work on my tan. ;) We finished up the day with steak, mashes, and corn for dinner and the rest of Hobbit 2. After the minions went to bed, Ash and I watched Lone Survivor, which was not really very good but it did make me realize two things: 1.) I do not want my kids to join the military and 2.) I am very grateful for the folks who serve our country.

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This week’s theme: #1 Hits on the Billboard Top 40 from the Rock Era 1955-present

I chose to look at 1990-1993 because, as it came up yesterday, I used to sit and listen to Casey Kasem’s Top 40 countdown each week on the radio and record the songs I liked. So a lot of these will be similar and also, familiar to my teenage years.

Blaze of Glory – Bon Jovi – 1990

Ahh Scorpions – Winds of Change – 1991

And November Rain – GnR. I was a huge fan.

 

 

Friday Confessions – Whiny edition

 

I confess… we’ve had quite a few monetary set-backs and now I am stressed. I hate August for this reason: it always seems like there is way more to pay. I admit that I sometimes look at people and wonder if they are in financial peril at all. I’m guessing they probably are. We’re not – I KNOW – but I get easily overwhelmed by added, unexpected things. Everyone else always seems so calm.

I confess… I am totally listening to “Don’t worry, be happy.” Sometimes I need that kind of reminder.

I confess… I didn’t eat well again this week. I did bring my lunch a lot though (I’d better get used to that! Have to save.) and I tried to eat more fruit. What I need to eat are more vegetables. For some reason, that’s hard for me. I love them but don’t factor them into my life.

I confess… After yesterday’s burger, I am done with them for a bit. I realize that though I love a good cheeseburger, I don’t eat them but maybe once every 3-4 weeks.

I confess… my boss’s office door rattles when the A/C comes on and it has been driving me crazy. I just folded up a sheet of printer paper and jammed it into the gap. Ahh… quiet.

I confess… I am having a hard time breaking myself out of this funk. I guess what I need to tell myself is that every single time I get stressed like this about things, it always turns out just fine. Things have a way of working out, don’t they?

I confess… I thought it was all sort of hush hush that one of our big-time professor’s new wife is coming in as a grad student. But apparently not. I feel like they should be a little quieter about nepotism but eh, why bother, right? ;)

I confess… I am looking forward to my workout when I get home because I need the distraction. I hope you all have a good weekend.  I am going to go try to cheer myself up.

Caught up and loving it?

To be completely honest, it’s weird not having much to do. Normally, these days, I have a plethora of things to work on – something is always lagging behind and only a deadline will get me to complete stuff. But this week I have: made 66 file folders, which means I printed labels and put them on tabs to put on folders. Then I put 66 information sheets in said 66 files and I organized them in the filing cabinets. Then, I input 35 new copy codes and names into the copy machine. I rearranged all the grad student mailboxes too – which is not an easy task. I have to alphabetize them so it involves moving around metal shelves and making sure they are all in order and can all fit. Also, those things are kind of dirty so my hands are super gross when I’m done. That job takes a solid four hours to complete.

I also graded my student’s papers – in both classes – and started working on a new course. I cleaned my office; took books from boxes and put them on shelves. Filed away forms, threw away stuff that had accumulated; recycled a bunch of old papers.

The Fall schedule of classes is good to go and numbers look good (all almost entirely enrolled). I’m paid up on bills, I’m up to date on making any appointments, and that’s pretty much all I can do right now.

Because I am so caught up, I treated myself to lunch today and went to Midtown Caboose, which I had been told was amazing. Their menu includes such burgers as the “Mac daddy” which is topped “with mac-n-cheese, bacon, and a handful of fried pickles, then smother it in your choice of bbq sauce. Served on a toasted onion roll.” Or the Sushi Chef which is a “burger with rare ahi tuna on top. Together they’re out of this world. Built on a toasted ciabatta roll and covered with wasabi aioli, eel sauce, sprouts, and grilled asparagus.” I wasn’t that adventurous though so I got the Runaway Train, a “burger patty on a toasted onion roll with maple mayo, sharp cheddar cheese, caramelized granny smith apples, red onions, and salty smoked bacon.” I opted out of the onion but it was still out of this world. I also got tots and a root beer and it was heavenly. I met my friend Rachel and we really enjoyed that food that will now spend weeks on my hips until me and Shaun T work it off. Admittedly, I only ate half but I am slowly working on the other half now.

The bad thing about eating like that? Needing a post-lunch nap. The even worse thing? Having to get coffee mid-afternoon to stave off said nap. With that, I’m off to motivate myself into doing something else productive!

Random Tuesday – Weird occurrences, strange phrases, and looking forward

Stacy

Well, it’s my downtime at work so I am going to write this up then actually catch up

 

 

 

  • Isaac has always said funny little things but some of his weirder quips as of late: “This chair smells like the pumpkin patch”, in regards to our desk chair. What does that even mean?? The other one is based on the sound from a video game we play. There’s a character called Abusive Sargent and when he comes into play, he says “Get in there and fight, maggot!” but Isaac thinks he says, “Get in there and fight, Baggins!”, because he’s really into Lord of the Rings. LOL.
  • I had an odd work/Facebook crisis yesterday. There’s a well-known professor who brings her dog to work. She claims this thing has separation anxiety so she brings it to her office but when she leaves to teach, the dog makes all kinds of racket, bothering the TAs who are studying, conferencing, etc. Anyway, it’s caused a lot of dissension in the department. Yesterday, said dog came rooting into my office, knocked over a stack of books, knocked over my trashcan trying to find food, hacked up some particles, then scampered off. I posted this exact thing on Facebook and then, about four hours later, said professor sent me a friend request. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or if someone ratted on me. If so, hmm…
  • I deleted the post then accepted her request. I have nothing against her dog, to be honest, but I don’t think animals belong in the building. By university rules, kids aren’t even allowed to come to work. I don’t think anyone is allergic to children…
  • This whole thing made me realize that I need to watch what I post there though. I deleted a post on Friday because I got into it with some people. I essentially said that no one should be paying with a check anymore (at the grocery store)  and they got all over me because some people may only have checks. To them I say, well they shouldn’t. And in this guy’s case, he was doing it to be a dick anyway. But I am definitely going to rethink what I post from now on.
  • I’m waiting to hear if I have something good coming to me at the end of this month and it is driving me nuts. I just need to relax and take things one day at a time.7c3403a0e34456d3a1e2aab2aec0a528
  • That’s it for today – I have to go rearrange grad student mailboxes. One of my favorite and most hated activities. I like organizing but I also sort of hate the actual process. Oh well! Happy Tuesday!

MMMM + How is my baby one??

By some miracle,  I ended up getting to go home by 2 on Friday and you know what I did? I took a nap. I think Ash got home around maybe 4 and we did one of our workouts, saving the 2nd for Saturday. He went to Magic and I made dinner for the kids. I took a different route with them: I just made food instead of asking what they wanted. I made some Kraft chicken and broccoli skillet and because they didn’t anticipate anything, they actually liked it! Weee! I managed to get BG in bed and then them and hour or so later and then Ash got home so our night was all couch sitting and and-of-week-rejoicing. Sadly, on Saturday, my children all woke up waaay too early.

BG was up by 5:15 and the boys by 5:45, which is earlier than a week day! Bleary-eyed, I made coffee and then their breakfast. By 8 AM, Elliot and I were at Target shopping the tax free weekend. I didn’t need much: just the supplies for Isaac to enter VPK and I wanted to buy Elliot a new pair of shoes. In the end, I spent about 60 but only paid taxes on 25 of it. Not bad! We went into Whole Foods for steaks (and potatoes but they were out of them!!) My morning felt so harried that I was kind of exasperated by everything. BUT, we had a nice big lunch and then everyone napped. Ash and I watched 300:Rise of an Empire (it was OK) In the afternoon, we played outside for a bit but man, it was pretty hot – about 95.

Sunday was Dakota’s first birthday! Since my parents are probably coming in a few weeks, we didn’t do any major celebration but everyone slept until almost 8 (Thank you, Lord) and we went to Jenny’s for breakfast. She loves her some eggs and we love that restaurant. They made it a bit nicer since the last time we went: a new wall mural and new tablecloths really go a long way.IMG_20140803_084602IMG_20140803_084123

Right after, we headed to the JR Alford greenway. In March, my mom and I went looking for the new Lafayette Heritage bridge that connects that greenway with Tom Brown park but we went the wrong direction so this time, I knew where to go. It was a nice walk in the woods: we saw lots of mushrooms and various bugs and the bridge views are amazing.20140803_094304

So that day was pretty good. We got things cleaned up in the house and watched some movies, played with toys and we gave Elliot back his video games. He was on a month-long ban but it only lasted a week. He did, however, articulate what his did wrong and why they were taken away (breaking a window.) In the afternoon, I took just the boys out for ice cream and we ended the night with spaghetti and reading/a Wrestlemania recap show. All in all, a great weekend!

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Ahh freebie week. I’m trying to pump myself up for work so here are some songs that are kicking me into gear.

Friday Confessions – Mostly Food Crimes

 

I confess… I was just a bad eater this week. There was food given to me, leftover donuts, and a potluck. Ooof. Yesterday I was pretty darn full so I only had yogurt for dinner. That was enough. Goal: do better today.

I confess… Once again, no one told me it was my day to stay at the front desk. I’m getting a little tired of being expected to do things but not told. People, communication is key.

I confess… my neighbor from across the street, an eccentric older woman, is going on vacation and she asked me to keep an eye on her house and get the mail. But each of the times she’s come over to tell me something, we always end up agreeing that vacation is good and we all need one. And then I start to think about how I could use one and, sigh.

I confess… this time of year always makes me a little sad. Grad students who I’ve worked with for years are graduating and moving to far off places. Some are going to California, New York, Bangladesh. It’s a nice time to reflect on that aspect of my job: I love getting to know so many different kinds of people and I especially cherish when I get into conversations with some of them in my office. I learn so many cool things!

I confess… I had this crazy dream that I’m pretty sure is a result of feeling like I have too much to do but keep getting interrupted/sidetracked. I was at work in my dream and there was some kind of emergency where a drug that made people speak incoherently had been diffused in the A/C so people had to evac classrooms and were all standing out in the halls. A bunch of them gathered outside my office as I tried desperately to finish grading papers but I let them take shelter in here anyway. Except as they started coming in, my office looked more like a small hotel room and people were staking out space for themselves in every possible corner. And yet,I kept working. UGH.

I confess… I sometimes forget that Facebook is not necessarily a place to express your opinion. I do understand that by putting myself out there I am opening it up for comment but come on: cut me a break. Also, stop writing checks people.

I confess… I am in the kind of mood where I’d like to just hide – from work, from people, from responsibility. Not good when I have a lot to do.

 

Summer evening

We worked out then showered the sweat away, changing into loose house clothes. The air conditioner is good, cold, but this heat is insane and even in the darkness of our living room, the fan whirring at top speed, I feel the oppression of summer. Dinner is made and popsicles follow up – we decide to take a walk, though my weather app claims it is 100 degrees. Luckily, the sun is hiding behind some darker clouds and a breeze blows, though it merely whips the warm air around our faces. In the overcast mid-evening, I appreciate how each home harbors so much life inside it. No one else is outside; just our family of five humans, two dogs, dripping wet  by the time our 15 minutes of walking are over.

Another cool shower and I change and put Baby Girl to sleep. She drifts off lazily while eating and my days of this special time with her are numbered; we’re weaning. I only do this twice a day now and soon, she’ll be drinking regular milk from a cup. Sunday, she’ll turn one. I marvel at how quickly her first year seemed to go compared to either of the boys’.

Once she’s asleep – so peaceful – I slip out and put on a necklace and a slight bit of perfume and head out the door, on my way to a going away party. I rarely attend any events; so many people on my Facebook feed sending out invites yet, so many obstacles. It’s not that I don’t want to go out but with work, kids, mother/wife duties, it’s all so exhausting. So on a Monday, no less, I managed to find three hours to go and enjoy food, drink, and my peers.

After indulging in yummy food and two IPAs, I drove home in a light drizzle, the streetlights a colorful hazy zigzag through the raindrops on my car’s windows. It reminds me of being in college and my friends and I driving around town. There’s something really comforting to me about being in a moving car at night – I can’t really explain it. Maybe I formed that when I was young and we vacationed, getting up super early when it was still dark to get to Disney World from South Florida or to the airport. I reveled in the quiet, the stillness of night.

At home, my night is coated in the alcohol after effects and my sleepiness, but I manage to wind down on the couch with my laptop. It’s so quiet and peaceful – two things that the majority of my life are not. Even in my office, when no one’s around, there is always something. I’m not very good at sitting for long periods of time, doing nothing. But these brief moments in the late evening, I appreciate for that reason. Life is crazy, busy, full, and wonderful.