The story behind the name:

One evening, at the Old Broadway Grill in Fargo, North Dakota, my brother caught the end of a Mountain Dew commercial. In the commercial, a Mountain Dew drinker was riding a shark in the ocean. My brother exclaimed in surprise, not realizing that it was a commercial. When I told him he declared "All I saw was a guy coming out of the shower with a shark." Of course, he meant water, but the idea of showering with sharks has been with me ever since.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Some Funnies

As Mark and I were driving home on Friday Mark turned to me and said, "What do you put in eggnog? Vodka?"

"Oh God! Gross!" I said. "No, it's rum, honey."

Later, Annie and I were at the liquor store. There was a bottle of eggnog with the liquor already mixed in at the cash register. I related the story to the two ladies behind the counter.

"So, husband thought that you put vodka in eggnog," I said.

"OH GOD! GROSS!" They both said. We all laughed.

Later, I told Mark about this. "Geez," he said. "I just didn't know what it was!"

_____________________

Ang, Annie, Kate, Izzi and I were having lunch at Spasso's. Annie noticed that they serve gelato there for lunch.

Ang, prompted by this discovery, began talking about "the best place to get gelato in Iowa City. It's in this place downtown," she said, "where they guy... the gelato is made from this actual Italian guy." She was very enthused.

I turned to her. "They make the gelato from an Italian guy?" I asked. In my mind, I had many questions: how much gelato can you make from one Italian guy? Do they keep needing to import them? Does this Italian guy object being made into gelato. Visions of Simpson's Treehouse of Horror dance in my head.

"Gross," Kate said.

_______________________

On the way home from Target we were talking about pregnancy. My friend Anna Kudak is pregnant and adorable.

"She looks like she has a basketball down her shirt," I said to Ang.

"Oh!" Ang exclaimed, "I wish I looked like that pregnant! I was as big as a HORSE!"

The word horse surprised me. I didn't not anticipate that noun.

Laughing, I turned to her. "I didn't expect you to say horse there," I said.

Ang laughed, too. "Me neither! I'm not sure where that came from!"

_______________________

My brother and his wife were staying with us this weekend. Saturday morning Jared was sitting on the love seat. I was on the couch and Ang was in the chair. Annie, who had already showered and dressed for the day, came to sit on Jared's lap. Jared had not showered yet (in fact, he did not shower that day until almost 5 p.m., Annie thought this was gross). Jared was wearing his Spiderman pajama pants and a zip up sweatshirt. Annie sat on his lap and in a few moments we heard:

RRRRRIIIIIIIPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!

It sounded like a big piece of velcro. Annie gasped. "I think my dress just ripped!" she said, her hands flying around to her bottom.

"No," said Jared. "I think it was my pants."

It was, in fact, Jared pants. GIANT rip in the crotch of his pants. This was very funny.

"It's a good thing you're wearing underwear," said Ang.

"Oh, honey," said Annie. "I'll get you some new sleep pants at Target."

"But," said Jared, "can't you fix these?" Then, in a little-boy voice: "They're my favorite..."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wish You Were Here



So, periodically Mark and I get it in our heads to try to discipline Quinn. One of the things that we have been told to do is to establish that Quinn is the dog and we are the people. One of the ways you can do this is by not allowing him on the furniture or the bed.

Quinn is a half-sheltie, half American Eskimo. When we got him, we were told he'd get to be about 15 lbs. He's 25 lbs of barking fur. But he's awesome. He's the cuddliest dog I've ever met. Also he LOVES Mark. He likes me alot, but he LOVES Mark. Probably because Mark often forgets that we are supposed to be disciplining Quinn.

I will be strictly enforcing the "not on the furniture" policy only to look over to see Mark cuddling Quinn on the loveseat. So, we are currently on a discipline break. I know, I know, this is confusing for Quinn. But, see, what happens is this: It starts getting really cold (as it often does in winter) and Quinn turns into a 25 lb, triple-coated, cuddly dog-shaped warmer. He's wonderful to have by your side as you relax on the couch.

I suppose we'll eventually go back to the discipline... Fortunately, Quinn seems to adapt to these changes in rules with equanimity.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Taxi Driver

So, I drove the Taurus to work this morning. The Taurus is a shitty car. I apologize for the language. I tried to think of another word that would accurately describe the Taurus, but shitty was really the only word that fit. We got the Taurus for free from Mark's grandma. I am very thankful that we got the car when we did, but that doesn't change the fact that it is unreliable and prone to malfunctioning. One summer we had to replace the transmission and the engine within four weeks of each other. Later, Mark had the Taurus taken to a dealership so that they could do an inspection. When he got back after the inspection with all the paper work his comment was, "My car is awesome. It's missin' some parts."

Anyway, in light of all this, one of my favorite past times when driving the Taurus (other than praying fervently that it doesn't break down on a major artery) is looking for cars that are shittier than the Taurus. This morning, I noticed a taxi on hwy 55 as I approached I94. A) The taxi was, in fact, a shittier car than the Taurus. B) But what really caught my eye was how the taxi was fishtailing all over two lanes. This made me wonder about the state of the tires on the taxi. No one else on the road was fishtailing, yet this taxi couldn't adjust its course at all without it's back end whipping from one side to the other.

As if the condition of the car weren't bad enough, I shortly realized that the person driving the taxi was contributing to the overall disaster. First, the taxi decided not to get into the lane that turns onto I94 until it was actually stopped at the light. I magnanimously let the taxi into the correct lane in front of me (although, I have to say that one of the side effects of driving the Taurus is that I get a bit more belligerent behind the wheel because I really don't care if anyone hits me). The taxi driver continued to be obnoxious as we merged with traffic. Instead of zipping into traffic, which is the appropriate merging procedure, the taxi passed the car that had zipped in front of it and then tried to merge into traffic after cutting that car off.

It offends me when people don't follow the rules of the zip (think zipper). The zip is what allows people on the road to coexist happily and without accident. When people disregard appropriate zip protocol, I almost take it as a personal insult. As a side note, people in Fargo do not understand how to zip. It is one of the reasons that, even though traffic is worse in Mpls, it is actually more dangerous to take the interstate in Fargo.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Excitement


I'm sitting on my couch watching the Office. Mark is sleeping. Harper is sleeping. Millie is sleeping. Quinn is sleeping. Mark and the two dogs are in our bed. Harper is, of course, in her crib. It's just me and Ziggy... sitting on the couch... my life is one major event after another...

And you know what? I'm going to stay on this couch, laptop on my lap, watching TV, until the Mentalist is over. Then I'm going to bed. My life is awesome.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Some Quality Time

Many of you either know of or are experiencing the winter weather we are having in the Midwest right now. I wanted to post a breakdown of our morning commute in the spirit of ridiculous traffic everywhere!

We left the house this morning at 7:20 a.m. Two blocks after leaving our house I turn to Mark.

"Well, don't try to call me today because I forgot my phone at home."

Mark laughs. "Ok."

Halfway to daycare, I jokingly say to Mark "So, what funny thing are you going to do today that I can blog about?"

He says, "I don't know," just as I shout out "Diapers!"

Harper was out of diapers at daycare. We got a note about it last week saying we needed them by Wednesday. It's Wednesday.

"Crap!" And some other bad words. And yes, I did feel guilty about saying them with Harper in the car.

"So, I guess we go back?" says Mark.

"Yeah," I sigh.

"Well, at least you'll be able to get your phone."

"True."

It has taken us longer than normal to even get halfway to daycare because of the snow AND because we were following a firetruck for awhile. But, we head back to the homestead.

Mark pulls into the garage and jump out to retrieve my phone and diapers. I notice that Quinn has somehow pulled a manual for a baby monitor off the bookcase and has began chewing it to bits. I pick it up and then pull all the paper stuff off the bookcase so that he can't eat anything else. I grab my phone and the diapers and head back out the door. We pull out of the garage and head towards daycare. Again. It's 7:40.

We get to daycare about 7:50 and drop off Harper. One of her teachers mentions that she is such a happy baby all day. As we pull out of the parking lot I tell Mark that Harper is probably the best baby at the daycare.

Traffic on 55 wasn't the worst I've ever seen it. But it wasn't awesome. We get onto 100 south and then into the carpool lane (thank God). The radio mentions that a semi has jack-knifed on 94 east bound. I suggested we could go through downtown or we could go across on Franklin. Mark, who is always up for trying a new route, decided to take Franklin.

We took Lyndale to Hennenpin to Franklin. There was all sorts of crazy traffic and bad driving. Then we discovered that you can't make a left turn from Hennepin to Franklin. So we had to keep going south. After two blocks we decided to swing into a parking lot to get turned around. It happened to be a Caribou parking lot. So we got coffee. It was approaching 8:30. While in the Caribou waiting for our beverages I turned to Mark.

"Well, honey, instead of getting mad you could just think of this as more quality time we get to spend together in this busy holiday season."

He replied "I don't know how quality it is with all the bad driving and irritated drivers."

But I still think it was quality time. We got to campus at 8:45. So, it may have taken over an hour for us to get to work, but at least I got to have coffee with my husband as we weaved in and out of traffic on Franklin.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mark + pills = funny

Two funny things from today:

First:

The first story is culmination of four days of forgetfulness. Last week, on Wednesday, daycare sent a note home that Harper was almost out of formula. On Thursday, the three of us went to Target to get more. On Friday, despite the fact that the formula was sitting in the car, I forgot to bring it in. Because I hate to back-track (those of you who know me know this to be true) I decided I would rather drive around town with the formula in my car than go back inside.

Monday morning, Mark and I are in daycare dropping off Harper. I say: "Formula!" I turn to Mark and ask (OK, order) him to go out to the car to get it.

I wait. And wait. And wait.

Mark returns after several minutes. No formula.

"Where is it?"

"I couldn't find it."

"Did you take it out of the car?"

"I don't think so."

At this point one of Harper's teachers interjects that Harper has enough formula for on more day.

On our way out to the car: "Well, if you didn't take it out and I didn't take it out, then where is it?"

"I don't know."

And then we promptly forgot about it until this morning. Again, we were standing in daycare when I said: "Formula!"

However, I have learned my lesson. I go out to the car to look for it. If living with Mark has taught me anything, it's that I should ALWAYS look for something myself first. He is a bad looker.

I unlock the car and open the back driver-side door. I lean over to look under the seat. I push a box of Kleenex out of the way and, lo and behold, there is the can of formula. I pick it up and head back inside. The entire process has taken 15 seconds.

When I get back inside with the formula Mark says, surprised, "It was in there?!"

"Yes. It was under the seat."

As we are putting our shoes on Mark says,"Well, you ARE shorter than me."

Second,

This morning before we left I was looking for some medicine. I asked Mark where it was and he actually knew (surprising... see above story). Of course, Mark had purchased the medicine and so it was in chewable form, not pill form. Mark hates swallowing pills. He buys everything in liquid of chewable form if he can. He even takes gummy vitamins.Watching him try to swallow pills is hilarious and I highly recommend it.

Later that morning, after leaving daycare, the subject of these chewables came up again.

"Aren't they great?" he asks.

"Actually, no. I thought they were gross. They tasted horrible."

"No way," says Mark. "I... I actually dream... dream of, like, a meatloaf that tastes just like that... like a chalky mint... mmmmm..."

I laughed. "No. You have gone too far with that one. TOO FAR."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

How Embarassing

Yesterday after we dropped Harper off at daycare I asked Mark if we could swing into Rainbow Foods (or Roundy's, as I call it) to pick up some eggnog. I needed to take the eggnog to school with me so that Ali and I could drink it while putting up our office Christmas tree. ANYWAY, Mark said sure, so we cruised across the street and ventured in.

While on my way to the back dairy case, Mark was strolling along behind me, trying to decide if he wanted anything to eat for breakfast. I lost track of him in my quest for nog, and when I returned to the front of the store, he was waiting for me with a cream-filled chocolate-frostinged doughnut. It looked delicious, but my will-power prevailed and didn't buy myself any pastries.

Back in the car, Mark points us back toward school. Stopped at the first light, Mark pulls out his doughnut and takes a few bites. He reaches the cream center. He looks like he is enjoying himself. Then, the light turns green and it's time for us to go again. For those of you who do not know this already, we drive a stick shift. Somehow, in the process of managing the doughnut while shifting gears, said doughnut winds up frosting-side down in his lap (read crotch).

"Yeah, I thought you would have known better than to eat something like that in the car while driving," I say helpfully.

Miraculously, when Mark removes the doughnut from his lap (read crotch) his pants are unscathed. More than he deserves, I think.

I start laughing. It's hilarious now that I know we don't have to stop back at home so that Mark can change pants.

I look at Mark. "I'm going to write about this in my blog."

Mark actually looks horrified. "NOOO!" He practically shouts it.

"Yes," I say. "You have done a stupid thing and the blog is your punishment. My readers will enjoy it."

Mark shakes his head and is quiet for awhile.

"The call of the cream filling was just too strong for me to ignore," he finally says.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Time to Put Away Childish Things: Part III

So, the past two Childish posts have been about dolls. Today's post moves us into the realm of electronic fun - specifically, video games. I'm crediting this post to my brother, Jared. He has a great blog that talks about video games and gaming in general. Check it out if you like that sort of thing.

http://www.1up.com/do/my1Up?publicUserId=6082290



I'm not sure how old we were when Jared got the original Nintendo game console. Pretty young. I remember trekking up the hill to our neighbors house to play Mike Tyson's Punch Out before we got our own system. Of course, the original NES came with Super Mario Bros. The Super Mario series is still my favorite series of games (with X-Men: Legends being a close second). Anyway, some of my favorite childhood memories involve Jared and I, up late in Jared's room, playing Mario.



I still remember the theme song and frequently sing it to my dog, Quinn.

My BEST memory from Mario Bros., however, comes years later after the release of Mario 3, arguable the best Mario game to date. Once again, Jared and I spent late nights up in his bedroom working our way through the various levels. In Mario 3, World Three is a water world, with several levels that rise and sink. This world also introduces the character Big Bertha, an angry red fish that will attempt to swallow Mario whole.



If memory serves, level three, World Three was a scrolling map. I always hated scrolling maps because you can't take your time, you have to keep moving or the back end of the screen will catch up to you, resulting in all manner of unpleasantness. This particular world not only scrolled, but it had multiple levels. You could run on land above, or you could swim below. At one point during the game, late at night, I was on the run (swim) from Big Bertha. The map was scrolling. I was beginning to panic. I was on the bottom level of the game, barely keeping my head above water (literally, in the sense that my character in the game was swimming), when I came to a dead end. Behind me lay the edge of the scrolling screen AND an angry red fish with a very large mouth. Ahead of me, a brick wall.

I turned to Jared and said, "Uh oh. I may be stuck."

Now, I know this doesn't sound particularly funny, but, trust me, it was HILARIOUS when it happened. We laughed until tears came to our eyes. The phrase "uh oh, I may be stuck" has become one of those great shared-sibling jokes. In fact, that one sentences sums up all the great moments I had playing (or watching) video games with my brother from that first NES through every incarnation of the NES, to Xbox, to Play Station and beyond.

We share these moments even as adults. Here are a few more:
- Me head-stomping Jared as Chun Li in Street Fighter 2
- Jared running from Crispin in Time-Splitters 2
- Jared cursing monkeys in Time-Splitters 2
- Playing Mega-Man 2, first on a tv with no sound, then on a tv with no color. Every time we switched it was like playing a whole new game.
- Goldeneye. Enough said.
- Ocarina of Time, when you hit the chicken enough and it calls all the other chickens.



Anyone else have either great video game or sibling moments they want to share?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Time to Put Away Childish Things: Part II

So, I know that everyone has been anxiously waiting to see what childhood toy I might write about next. First, I have to say that it has taken me so long to get my next chapter written because I've been INSANELY busy. In the past week and a half I've written two exams, graded an exam, graded speeches, graded papers, graded outlines, advised a myriad of students and generally been an all-around super prof.

Choosing my next topic for this blog series was difficult. Should I tackle GI Joe? My Little Pony? Barbie? But then, inspiration struck. For Part II I will shall discuss no other than SHE-RA: PRINCESS OF POWER!!!!!








She was quite possibly my favorite toy and cartoon when I was a kid. The cartoon was on for 15 episodes starting in 1985. Rather than explaining the plot of the cartoon, I will let you all check out the opening of the cartoon, which I found on youtube (awesome).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quzY7ONePM4

I owned many of the She-Ra dolls. Looking back on it now, I think I can probably trace my love of chicks-kicking-ass to She-Ra. She was tough, had an awesome sword, and rode a unicorn! What could be cooler than that! She-Ra was the first in a long line of ass-kicking heroines to win my admiration. The was Jinx of GI Joe, Gina Davis' characters in both Cutthroat Island and Long Kiss Goodnight, Charlie's Angles (both TV AND movie versions-yes, I know and I don't care), and Rachel Morgan in the books by Kim Harrison to name a few.

She-Ra is a great role model for many reasons. First, she is a flawed character. She was the leader of an evil Army, but she learned the errors of her ways and decided to lead the Rebellion instead. She is loyal to her family and often fought with her brother He-Man. She-Ra is strong and independent and can take on any one. Also, did I mention the cool sword and the unicorn?!

Finally, I just need to mention that you can actually find full episodes of She-Ra online. I think we all know what I'll be doing during lunch tomorrow!

Who are your heroes/heroines? Anyone else out there a huge She-Ra fan?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Time to Put Away Childish Things: Part 1



Two things happened recently which have prompted me to reflect upon my childhood... specifically, the toys of my childhood. The first happened in the Mall. I came across a display of Barbies through the ages. Several notable Barbies were displayed. I was particularly interested in the Barbies of the late 1980s to early 1990s, my own prime Barbie time.

The second thing that lead me down the road to my childhood was the recent live-action GI Joe movie. This movie was both horrible and awesome. Jared and I used to watch the GI Joe cartoons and the cartoon feature-length movie. Jared also had several action figures.

In light of these two events, I have decided to do a series of posts about memorable childhood toys. Yes, I will be discussing both Barbie and GI Joe, but not until later. I decided to devote my first installment to:

Jem.

Jem is excitement. At least, that is what the theme song of her show used to say. According to Wikipedia (yeah, I know, I never allow my speech student to cite Wikipedia as a source) Jem the cartoon was based on the Jem dolls by Hasbro, of GI Joe fame. Jem was the rocker alter-ego of Jerrica Benton, owner of Starlight Music and Starlight House, a home for foster girls. Jem and her band, the Holograms, got into many different adventures, competed with rival band the Misfits (whose songs, they claimed, were better), and were all-around glamorous and musical.

I have mentioned Jem to several people in the last few days and no one really remembers her. I, on the other hand, can still sing most of the Jem theme song. I had many of the dolls as well. I remember liking Jem's pink hair and sparkly outfits. I played with Jem during the same time I played with Rocker Barbie. Jem and Rocker Barbie shared similar tastes in make-up and wardrobe.

As a rhetoric scholar now, I can't help but wonder what I learned from my play with Jem and the Holograms. I guess Jerrica/Jem was a strong female role-model. After all, Jerrica DID run her own company and Jem and the holograms DID win a mansion in the battle of the bands. Of course, I don't think I needed Jem to be a strong female role model. I had my mom for that.

Another big theme, at least in the Jem cartoon series, was the struggle to keep Jerrica and Jem separate. There are probably parallels here that can be drawn between Jem/Jerrica and any other person who wears multiple hats in a day. This week I've been Mom, Wife, Teacher, Adviser, Friend, Confidant, Counselor, Citizen, Faculty, and Bitch. When you get right down to it, don't all of us have some identity we're trying to suppress? And, if I'm really being honest with myself, I do think there is a pink-haired, pink-eye-make-uped rocker inside me longing to be free.

In closing:

Anyone out there remember Jem? Anyone want to share their hidden Jem?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Taters?

So, I was just reading my FB newsfeed, seeing what all my FB friends were up to. One of my friends, Tanner Vix, wrote that he had a better supper last night that consisted of sirloin, shrimp, veggies and taters. My immediate thought was:

"What's taters, precious?"

Is that wrong?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

O. M. G.

So, today Mark and I drove separately. I wanted to be able to leave early because, for a wonder, I didn't have any meetings or appointments scheduled. I did, in fact, go home early and I took a wonderful nap, but that's not really the point of this posting.

At 4:45 Mark called and asked if it would be OK if he stayed late to do some work. I said "sure." I was just about to leave to pick up Harper at daycare. After talking to Mark (and finding out which $100K great room remodel won best bang for the buck)I told the puppies to be good and headed out.

The Harper pick up went smoothly. We we got home I discovered a giant puddle of regurgitated water in the entryway. Sometimes Quinn drinks so much water so fast that it immediately comes back up again. Anyway, we were greeted by a vast expanse of thrown-up water. I took Harper out of her car seat and navigated around it just as Quinn threw up another, possibly even more voluminous, puddle in behind me. Whatevs. I'm still zen at this point (largely thanks to my awesome afternoon nap).

Harper and I went immediately into the kitchen. I was intending to clean up the great lakes of dog-water later. I mixed Harper up some sweet peas and rice cereal. She sat in her bumbo on the table and watched me with much excitement. I bibbed her and she opened up for the first bite. I put the pea-cereal mixture in her mouth and her face changed from one of excitement, to one of horror. I'm not kidding. Imagine the face of the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man on Ghostbusters right before he explodes. THAT is what her face looked like. And then, once again - not kidding here - she reached down, grabbed her bib, put it up to her mouth, and spit the pea-cereal into it. It was such a deliberate action that I didn't have the heart to try another spoonful.

I discarded that bowl and mixed up one with prunes instead. I know, I know, many of you out there are thinking "Peas to prunes!?! You are a terrible Mom!" But, seriously, the first time she had peas she LOVED them. I don't know what happened. The prunes were received with a grudging acceptance, not nearly the enthusiasm to which cereal and carrots are subjected. At one point, Harper made her elephant noise which spit cereal into my open mouth. Of course, my mouth was open because I was mimicking her. I often think of the baby-feeding scene in the Incredibles. You know the one? Well, that's what I was doing when Harper spit cereal everywhere.

As you might imagine, but the time we were done there was cereal, peas, and prunes everywhere, not to mention what was leftover on her clothes from her earlier meals. I decided it was time for a bath.

I ran the water and got her ready. I really enjoy bath time. She's at the point now where she plays in the water. It's really fun. Unfortunately, as I was getting her into the bath I discovered yet ANOTHER puddle of regurgitation. This time, I didn't see it in time to avoid stepping in it. It smelled very bad. It was all over my socks and jeans. I had to take both off. So, I gave Harper a very short bath in my shirt and underwear. As she played in her crib, I had to go around and clean up three (yes, three for those of you who haven't been counting) lakes of dog regurgitation. Awesome.

I am really at the end of my rope as far as dogs are considered.

Tongue Trills

Yesterday when we picked up Harper from daycare one of her teachers said she was making a funny noise. I asked if it was tongue trills. Harper just recently figured out how to trill her tongue... it sounds similar to when you roll your r's, except that she does it for sustained amounts of time in a high-pitched voice.

Her teacher exclaimed "Yes! That's what it was!"

I responded that she had just started doing that.

Her teacher said "I've never seen a baby do that before."

This particular teacher has been at daycare for years and years, so she has seen babies do a LOT of things.

See. I knew my baby was exceptional.

Monday, November 9, 2009

1/2 Moon

A little boy just mooned me.

More accurately, a little boy just mooned me and Ali Rapp. The boy was standing outside my office window with his back to us. At first, Ali thought he was peeing on the wall. Then, to our extreme amusement, he wiggled one side of his jeans down to reveal most of one cheek. Technically, I guess it was a half-moon. It appeared to be a challenging process because he had some guitar-shaped instrument strapped to his back.

After he had run away, Ali said she still thought he looked like he had been peeing at first. I went to the window and looked at the wall.

"Nope," I said. "A closer scientific examination has revealed no wetness on the wall or ground."

The evidence is in. He just wanted to moon us.

Happy Mornings

Filling out Harper's daycare form this morning got me thinking... On this form, we indicate three things about Harper's state of being that day.
1. How did Harper sleep? What time did she get up?
2. Did Harper eat anything before she came to daycare? If so, how much and at what time?
3. How is Harper today? Happy? Not her normal self? (Notice that cranky is not an option)

Answer question number three always makes me feel very lucky. I almost always get to check off "happy." I think she has only not been "her normal self" once or twice. Yes, Harper wakes up happy every day. EVERY DAY. Every morning Mark or I goes into her room to get her ready for the day and we are greeted with a big toothless smile. To Harper, every day is a new opportunity for a great day. Everything is new and exciting... even things she has seen or done before. Her joy at being place in the bouncer at daycare is great every morning.

Reflecting on her happy disposition this morning made me wonder what it takes to face everyday with that excited smile. I wondered about my "normal self." Do I have a normal self that faces each day? If so, what is that self? I think that I'd like my normal self to be more like Harper's normal self: facing each day with a smile and a curiosity that allows me to discover new joy even in things I experience everyday.

Harper is teaching me a lot of things. Some other day I'll have to write about what Harper is teaching me about posture.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Moving Furniture

I made Mark help me move the furniture in our living room around today. He hates it when I get the rearranging bug. But, I'll get an idea one day and then it just festers and festers and festers until I can't take it anymore and then I ask him to help me move furniture.

Once, several years ago, we were sitting on the sofa in an apartment that I had just moved into. We were watching TV, which was located on the opposite wall. I wasn't feeling this furniture arrangement. So I said to Mark: "Do you want to help me switch the TV with the sofa?"

He looked at me. He looked at me like he always does when I ask this question. His face clearly says "Why, why, why would you think that I would WANT to help you move furniture?"

He said, "No."

"Ok," I said. "How about this: Would you rather help me switch the couch and TV now, or would you like for me to harass you about it for the foreseeable future?"

We moved the furniture.

We've been together for almost nine years, married for almost seven of those years. Is it any surprise that now, when I want to move furniture, he just sighs and says "Where do you want it?"

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Integrity

So, today at lunch we (my departmental colleagues and I) wound up sitting with a woman from another department on our campus. During our conversation she revealed that she was currently dealing with some political problems. Her boss had hired a consultant to come in to "fix" her department. This consultant has apparently been in before and this time, when this woman was told the consultant was coming, she "respectfully declined" to meet with her.

Anyway, the ins and outs of the politics aren't important. What I think WAS important and very admirable was that this woman went to her boss and told her that her integrity was more important than her job (in so many words). She is unwilling to compromise her dignity and I think that is incredible, especially considering our current economic situation.

I would like to think that if I had to, I would make the same choice as this woman, but I don't know if I would be as brave. In the immortal words of Kenny Rogers "You have to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em." I think that the holding can be much more difficult.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why? Why?

So, this post is about my wonderful husband's tendency to do things that are sometimes not so wonderful. He may read this and that's OK. This post is about button-pushing, which he purposefully does to tick me off.

This morning, after I explicitly asked him to NOT drive like a maniac, he swung into a parking spot in front of Einstein Bros. like he was being chased by machete-wielding monsters. Of course, this sent stuff in the car flying and knocked over the plant that was sitting on the floor in the backseat which resulted in dirt on the floor and on one of my scarves. I told him it was his responsibility to clean both the scarf and the floor of the car. If he's going to do stuff like that in order to tick me off, then he can deal with the consequences of his actions.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ali + Skittles = ugly

Ali Rapp just ate, like, 7 mini bags of skittles from my left-over Halloween candy basket. Now she feels yucky. She says she's going to get the Rainbow Barfs. I think that sounds like Rainbow Brite's little brother.

Remember Rainbow Brite? She was awesome.

So Far Behind

Yes, I have lots of grading to do. I should be doing it now. But before I can get back into the grind, I had to take a moment to rest my sense of disappointment. The majority of my students do not capitalize, do not use correct punctuation, do not, in fact, write in complete sentences. One of my students misspelled the word communication. The exam is in the class Introduction to Communication. It is an open book and open notes exam. You would think that, at some point, this communication major would have learned how to spell communication. I'm tempted to blame computer-mediated communication. I'm sure that CMC has impacted this on some level. However, the problem is so systematic, I have to wonder if that is all that is going on.

Are students really just this lazy? I mean, really, is the extra pinky stroke necessary to capitalize the pronoun "I" that much of a burden?

Also, at what point did everyone forget that a sentence is supposed to have a subject and object?

And finally, wouldn't you think that having automatic spell check would have reduced the amount of spelling errors in typed documents? Because I can tell you... it hasn't.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Becoming More Mindful

A few weeks ago I was driving home after my Friday night class. Prior to this drive, I had been reading some article in some magazine that was giving advice on how to become more observant. One of the suggestions was to try to pick out something you've never noticed before when you are walk/driving down your street.

Anyway, it was 9 p.m. on a Friday and I had been at work since 8 a.m. I wasn't really paying attention and I almost missed one of the turns right by my house. As I was driving down the street, I thought of that article as I observed how dark the street was and how driving at different times of the day can really make you notice things that you have never noticed before.

Then I realized I wasn't on the right street.

My Mom vs. Her Cat

My Mom emailed me today. The subject was: The Rocky Incident. Rocky is her cat. Apparently, last night my dad started Rocky the cat so bad that he flew out of his little cat tent and scaled my Mom like she was Mount Everest. Imagine 15 lbs of freaked cat climbing your face. Poor Mom. She has bloody gashes on her leg and face.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mark is Funny

We were driving home one day when we (somehow) got on the topic of Taco John's.

Mark: "It's hard to find a Taco John's in this town. Kinda like trying to find a WalMart."

Me: "But we don't care. We hardly never eat Taco John's. Except for sometimes there is nothing better than potato ole's."

Mark: "Yeah, like when you need a year's worth of sodium yesterday."

Friday, September 25, 2009

As Yet Untitled Story: Part 1

“They’re vampires.”
Joan Vixer made this statement in response to an inquiry from her daughter.
“Oh?” Ann asked for elaboration.
“They only come out at night,” Joan said. “They moved in two weeks ago and the only time we’ve ever seen them is after dark.”
Joan and Ann were sitting in Joan’s small living room. Ann and her husband, Steven, were visiting from Minneapolis for the weekend. The house next to Joan’s had been for sale for well over a year. It was your average suburban bi-level house. The vinyl siding was a taupe color that blended in with all the other vinyl-sided houses in Joan’s neighborhood. It was not in the least bit scary.
Ann enjoyed listening to her parents talk about their lives in South Fargo. Ann had grown up in a small town in North Dakota with her parents and her younger brother. She had had a great childhood. Normal. She loved her parents but, like many children, only really got to appreciate them as people after she had grown up herself. Her mom and dad had moved to Fargo several years earlier after Ann and Steven had gotten married. Her younger brother, Craig, lived with his wife if West Fargo. Since Ann’s mother and father had moved into their suburban, South Fargo home, they had come up with entertaining nicknames for many of their neighbors.
First, there was Bob the Viking Guy. The Viking Guy referred to Bob’s love of the football team the Minnesota Vikings, not to any resemblance Bob may or may not have had to a blonde, sea-faring raider. Bob the Viking Guy lived on the other side of what was now the Vampire house.
Next, Ann’s dad, Barney, had named the man living two houses north of them Doug Voler. The origination of this nickname was more complicated. Voles are small rodents that live in the ground. During the winter, they make tunnels. After the snow melts in the spring (or summer, you never know in Fargo, N.D.) many people in Barney’s neighborhood discovered vole marks in their yards. One particular spring the voles had been very busy. On a fine Saturday Barney stood looking out his front window. The vantage point allowed him a clear view in to Doug, Soon-to-be-Voler’s backyard. Doug Soon-to-be-Voler was on his hands and knees, attempting to repair vole damage. Suddenly, he leapt up, grabbed a nearby rake, and began frantically beating at the lawn. Barney laughed, guessing that Doug’s quest to eradicate the vole damage had uncovered one of the little, rodent vandals. Because of Doug’s entertaining dance, he had been coined Doug Voler.
Finally, there were Joan and Barney’s neighbors to the back. Ann had been amused when her mother referred to the new neighbors as the Rolley-Polleys. Then she had been a little ashamed of herself for being amused. Mr. Rolley-Polley liked to mow the lawn without his shirt on. Soon after the Rolley-Polley’s moved in, Barney planted a row of fast-growing trees in their backyard on the property line between their house and the neighboring house.
Needless to say, Ann was not surprised that the new neighbors had been christened with a nickname. She wasn’t even surprised that the new neighbors nocturnal habits had lead to the Vampire moniker. Both her parents liked bad scary movies and her mom loved horror novels. Ann left one of the over-sized living room chairs to peek out the kitchen window at the Vampire house.
“They have a garden.”
Joan shrugged.
“I don’t think vampires would need a garden,” Ann was smiling. She knew her parents didn’t believe the neighbors were really vampires.
What would vampires do with a garden?
“They garden at night. The only time we’ve seen them out there is after dark.”
“Anything else?” Ann asked as she returned to the living room.
“No, they’ve only been here a few weeks. Dad talked to the them for a few minutes right after they moved in.”
“Hmmm. Was Dad also out doing some nocturnal gardening at the time?”
“He was putting out the garbage. He saw Mr. Vampire in the driveway so he went over to say ‘hi.’”
“Did he find out their actual name?”
“He didn’t remember it. It’s Karnak or Kardasian or something.”
“Kardasian? Like Kim Kardasian?”
“Who?”
“Nevermind.”
Joan shook her head. “What should we have for supper?”

Barney was working in the yard. Barney liked his yard. He had planted a garden in the back and he spent a lot of time gardening and doing lawn work in the summer and shoveling the driveway in the winter. The grass in Barney’s yard was thick and green and cut twice a week to a precise two-inch height. The lawn was his kingdom and he was the king.
Because Barney was so frequently in the lawn, he noticed when the Vampires began making some strange alterations to their yard. They removed the deck on the back of the house and boarded up the sliding door. They put a large padlock on the backdoor to the garage. And, strangest of all, one of their garden level window wells was filled in with dirt until none of the glass was visible. The vampires didn’t even reseed the filled-in window well with grass. The dirt was like a scar on an otherwise well-kept lawn. A dirty, grass-less, dirt scar. King Barney hated it.

“Dad won’t quit complaining about that window-well,” Joan said to Ann on the phone one evening. Joan looked out the window in the kitchen, the one that looked out on the Vampire house.
“They just filled it in with dirt?” Ann asked.
“Yes,” said Joan. “You have to admit, it is weird.”
“It is,” said Ann. “I’m sure there is a good reason. Maybe they converted that space in the basement into a media room. You don’t want windows in a media room.”
“Media rooms are really popular now,” admitted Joan. “You brother keeps saying that he is going to have one in his next house. Remember that house we looked at during the Parade of Homes? The one with the big media room in the basement?”
“Yes, I remember.”
“That was nice.”
Ann sighed. “Yes, it was.”

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Blogger Ethics

In Media class today we talked about media ethics. One of the points we tried to make was how changing technology brings up new ethical dilemmas. We discussed the Megan Meier suicide case (http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=7595756&page=1) and blogging. The internet makes it possible for amateur and unprofessional publishers to reach mass audiences. Suddenly, our own personal opinions and perspectives are available to mass audiences. I wonder how much impact our words have on the values and beliefs of others.

Yesterday David Lapakko brought up the website Rate Your Professor. It is possible to flame professors on this website. My feelings about websites like this are mixed. I have been known, in my time, to advise students to take or to avoid certain professors (mostly when I was TAing at NDSU). However, hearing my review of a professor in a one-on-one situation and reading a review of a professor on a website probably have two very different impacts. What is to stop people from writing horrible and false reviews of professors on these websites? What is to stop someone from writing a horrible and false account of anything on a blog? And how harmful could these comments be to individuals? Of course, I don't have any answer to any of these questions but the discussion surrounding these concepts has made me think more about my duty as a professor, a blogger, a communicator, and a citizen of this new technological world.

Blissful Ignorance

WOW. It has been a long time since I have blogged.

Mark and I were just IMing about finances. He told me he was giving me some information just so that I "was aware." I told him I didn't want to know, that I wanted to live in blissful ignorance. That is true. I do want to live in blissful ignorance about finances. Alas, it isn't possible.

Today in COM 120: Mass Media and Popular Culture, we somehow got on the topic of medicare and social security. I say "somehow" but what I really mean is that Wes declared to the class that they were going to be paying for his retirement. (Wes is my co-teacher for this class). But I digress (much like how I digressed in class when the following conversation happened). One of my students asked if it were true that they weren't going to have access to health care. Then another student asked if we thought that retirement wouldn't be something that their generation got to experience. I said that they would have the ability to retire if they started getting smart about their money now. Most of the students in this class are first-year students. I said they should start a savings account and even if they could only put in $5/month it would be something. As I type this I realize that I don't even do that. I am now resolved to starting a savings account with an automatic deposit this afternoon. I told the class that they didn't even have the luxury of ignorance that I had when I was their age. If I could go back in time and change some of the financial and life choices I made, I would certainly do so. However, there really is no use crying over things that can't be changed. All we can do is hope that we learn from past mistakes enough not to repeat them.

On another note, I'm thinking of starting to publish installments of a story that has been percolating in my head for some time here on Showering With Sharks. Is anyone out there that reads this blog interested in reading my story? (Shameless bid for affirmation and support).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Harper Chronicles: Chapter 7

Last night I was reading my "Caring for Your Young Child" book. Yes, I'm an academic. When I'm not sure exactly how to do something (like raise a child) I buy a book. As Harper is 4 months old today, I was reading the section on 4 to 7 month development. In the section on sleep in said that our 4-month-old should be skipping one feeding during the night, possibly sleeping through the night. I read it out loud. Harper is still getting up at least twice a night. After reading that section to Mark he said:

"I want our money back."

Monday, August 10, 2009

Harper Chronicles: Chapter 6

Harper is going to be baptized on Sunday. In preparation for the event, Mark and Harper and I attended Baptism 101 at church. I was a little nervous going into the class. Izzi, my goddaughter, was baptized when she was one month old. I was baptized at two months old. This is the extent of my experience with baptisms. Anyway, I was nervous that Harper was going to be the oldest baby at Baptism 101 and that all the other parents were going to think that Mark and I were unholy or something for putting it off until she is 4 months old. Happily, all the other babies at baptism class were almost the same age as Harper. There was one 4-week old there (with his parents, obviously). I told his mother I thought she was brave.

Personally, I was terrified of taking Harper out of the house until she was two months old. Part of this is because our pediatrician told us that she shouldn't be exposed to large crowds until she was 6-weeks to 2-months because of her still-developing immune system. The larger part, however, was that I was never sure how she was going to react to anything - especially in public. For the first two months of her life if she was awake and not eating she had to be moving. We either had to be bouncing her on the ball, bouncing her in her chair, or walking around with her. The chair and ball were difficult to transport to public places and all that walking gets exhausting. Hence, we didn't take her out much until she was about 10-weeks old.

We will be having mucho company for the baptism. My parents, Jared and Annie, and my gramma and grampa will be staying with us this weekend. Dan and Ang (Harper's godparents, along with Barb) and Izzi will be coming up and so will Kate and Nate and Steff. It's going to be a fun and busy weekend. It's a good thing my class finished last week so that I have time to clean my house this week. Now I'm just hoping that Harper behaves herself during the actual baptism. She likes bath-time, so I'm hopeful...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Harper Chronicles: Chapter 5

Harper's New Trick

Harper rolled over last night for the first time. She rolled from her back to her front. I've read that it is more common for babies to roll from their fronts to their backs first, but this would be difficult for Harper to accomplish as she spends most of her time on her stomach screaming bloody murder. Harper hates "tummy time" and nothing I do can convince her that it is actually good for her to spend time that way.

Considering her hatred of tummy time, I have to admit I was a little surprised at how diligently she rolled onto her stomach, over and over, once she finally got it figure out last night. Here's how it goes: Harper starts on her back, then she pulls up her legs and rotates them to the side (either side) taking her upper body with her. Then, she turns and mashes her face into the floor. This maneuver gets her 3/4 of the way onto her front. Next she wiggles her legs and hips until she actually works her way onto her stomach. The process is almost complete. Finally, she has to work her arm (which wound up underneath her chest) free.

I was so excited when she did it!!! She looked excited too for about 10 seconds. She did her mini-pushup and kicked her legs. Then she realized that she somehow wound up on her tummy. Then she remembered that he hates to be on her tummy. Then she started screaming. Of course, I tried to soothe her for a few seconds, but she is inconsolable when on her tummy. So I rolled her onto her back. She immediately began the process all over again. I would say that she rolled over about 7 times total and she was mad every single time she finally wound up on her stomach. All I can do at this point is hope that she learns how to roll from stomach to back soon, or I'm going to have a really mad baby on my hands....

Oh! as I type this there she goes again!!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Harper Chronicles: Chapter 4

Mark: If I were you, I'd be taking Harper on a walk every morning.

Me: Yes, that's a good idea. I'll take her on one tomorrow.

Monday, 2 p.m. Kristen and Harper set out for the library. It is about a 10 minute walk.

Nice lady at the library while I am checking out my four books: Oh, what a sweet little lady!

Harper: Waaaaaaaaa!

Harper as we leave the library: Waaaaaaaaaa!

Harper as we turn on to Pennsylvania Ave: Waaaaaaaaaa, waaaaaaaaaa, waaaaaaaaa!

Harper as we walk past the golf course: Waa, waa, waa, waa, waa, waa!

Harper as we turn onto Kelly Drive: Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Harper as we turn into our driveway: sigh.

Harper as we go into the house: Waa aaa aaa aaa.

Me as I take Harper out of her carrier: pant, pant, pant (with sweat dripping)

Thanks Daddy. That walk was a good idea.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Pro Sex, Pro Life, Pro Gay Marriage Woman

I like Meghan McCain. I just watched her on the Colbert Report. She defined herself as Pro Sex, Pro Life and Pro Gay Marriage. And she said some very intelligent things about the Republican Party.

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/228068/may-18-2009/meghan-mccain

You may remember that I was involved in the RNC this past August as an instructor for the Washington Center. I learned a lot about the Republican Party and about politics during those two weeks. It was a great experience, even if there were moments where I wanted to tear out my hair and gouge out my eyes (during Rudy Guiliani's speech). Anyway, I think Meghan McCain has great ideas about the future of the Republic Party (not that I'm going to join it, or anything). On the other side, the new emphasis the Republican Party is putting on Ronald Reagan as the future of the Party is slightly ridiculous.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=228016&title=republicans-look-forwardjames

Dick Cheney Scares Me

Dick Cheney scares me. Not just his policies or his worldview (although those are plenty scary)... the physical reality of Dick Cheney. He looks like one of the Gentlemen on Buffy. Judge for yourself.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Harper Chronicles: Pictures

Here is a link to Mark's website. This is where most of Harper's pics get posted. I intend to post some pics here in my blog, but the galleries are always viewable here:

http://www.mchamberlain.us/harper.html

Harper Chronicles: Chapter 3

The Play Gym.

Harper loves her playgym. It is a rainforest themed gym with a striped tiger and two butterflies hanging from it. The tiger has a ball. When you hit the ball it rotates and makes sounds. It has been really fun to watch Harper become better and better at hitting that ball. She likes to lay in her play gym and stare at the tiger. Eventually, she becomes really excited about the tiger and sends her fist flying toward the ball. Sometimes she puts her hands up and makes grabbing motions at the tiger and at the butterflies. She hasn't succeeding in grabbing anything yet, but she sure likes to try. Personally, I think her lack of success with the grabbing is frustrating for her. After several grabbing tries she inevitable becomes whiny. I think she can't quite figure out why the grabbing isn't working. Mark and I have taken several videos of her in the play gym. I will post links to these videos soon in a future blog.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Harper Chronicles: Chapter 2

I will title this chapter "I never knew I'd become so blase about poo."

Early on in my pregnancy I had a conversation (a very humorous conversation) with Bob Groven about how, as a parent, you are subjected to a variety of disgusting experiences with your child's bodily functions. Well, Harper is only 4 weeks old and Mark and I have already had the pleasure of some of these experiences. But, what really amazes me, is that--like my mom always assured me--when it's your kid, it's not that bad. And, in fact, sometimes it's kinda funny.

1. Stealth pee. Harper stealth pees. I always knew that you had to be careful when changing little boy diapers because of pee issues. I did not think this would be an issue with a girl. However, there have been several times when I (or Mark) have pulled off Harper's diaper only to be treated to a soaking wet changing pad when I attempt to replace said diaper. I don't know how she does it but we spend a lot of time washing changing pads. The best is when the stealth pee actually soaks not only the pad but the back of whatever she is wearing that day. Then I get to move her, change the pad and undress and redress her. It's awesome.

2. Number 2. Of course, diaper blowouts are a fact of life. Last weekend Mark and I went to visit my parents. At our house, we have a swing that Harper likes to sit in. My mom doesn't have anything like that so she purchased a little vibrating chair for Harper's visit. This chair is very similar to the chair my friend Ang had for her daughter Isabelle. Ang and her husband Dan referred to this chair as the poop chair because everytime Izzi sat in it she pooped. Kinda funny. Anyway, Harper christened her brand new chair as the new poop chair on Friday morning and she christened it in spectacular fashion. She blew out a diaper to such an extreme state that she actually leaked through her sleeper and onto the vibrating chair in two places. It was very impressive. Mark and I joked that it now truly was the "poop chair."

3. Does my child belong in the Exorcist? Harper doesn't actually spit up that often but when she does it is impressive. It's most impressive if she is laying down at the time. One day she projectile spit up to a height of at least 3 inches.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Harper Chronicles: Chapter 1

On April 3, my due date, I happily left campus after watching a presentation in my small group communication class fully expecting that I was going to have a baby any moment. WRONG.

On Tuesday, April 7, I show up for my scheduled (or so I thought) post-due-date OB appointment. My appointment was scheduled (so I thought) for 4:45. I checked in, informing the front desk that I had an appointment with my regular doctor.

"Oh, he's not here today. Who else do you see?"

I told her the name of my NP.

"Hmmm. What is your name?"

Long story short, the appointment wasn't ACTUALLY scheduled. Apparently, someone from the clinic is supposed to call to see if the pregnant woman actually needs the appointment. As the appointment was on the print-out of future appointments I had been given, I just assumed that meant it was scheduled. Anyway, they got me in to see another doctor and we decided to schedule an induction for Friday, April 10th if I hadn't already gone into labor on my own.

Of course, I fully expected to go into labor on my own at any moment. I didn't.

When the doctor scheduled the induction, she told me the hospital would call sometime between 5:30 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. to give me a time to come in sometime after 7:00 a.m. The phone rang at 4:45 a.m. and the nurse asked if I could be in at 6:00 a.m. I said I could, even though I had NO idea what time it was when she called. If it really would have been 5:30 a.m. we would have had to break ever land speed record to get there on time, but it was 4:45 so we had plenty of time.

After many hours of labor, pitocin, morphine, narcotics and an epidural, Harper Jane Chamberlain was born at 10:35 a.m. on April 11. She weighed 8 lbs 7 oz (over a pound heavier than what the doctors thought) and was almost 22 inches long. Yeah. She was a big baby. We didn't actually name her until the next day.

It was exhausting. But worth it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

No Use Crying Over Spilt Coffee

I had a mini-tragedy on the way to school this morning, but it is so nice and sunny outside (after two days of gloomy snow) that I can't even care!

Yesterday was an icky day. I could not like it, nor could I be happy. I drove to school in snow. It was dark all day. And cold. TODAY, however, is a different story. Even though the high will still be below average temps for this time of year, it's going to be warmer than yesterday... and did I mention the beautiful SUNSHINE!

Anyway, the mini-tragedy... Since it was so lovely out, and since I'm cutting out processed sugar AND caffeine after the baby is born, I decided I better indulge myself this morning with a coffeecake and coffee from Einstein Bros. Bagels. Well, on the way to school on 394, I got a little distracted by rocking out to Roxette on my ipod and I accidentally spilled some of my delicious vanilla hazelnut coffee in the car. The good news is that most of it went on the floor. I didn't spill too much because I had the lid on. I did spill a small amount on my pants, but, fortunately, I am wearing dark jeans and when I checked in the mirror when I got to school, you can't even see where the coffee hit. Most importantly, there was still a lot of coffee left for me to enjoy once I got to school and was prudently out of the car. The coffeecake was delicious and now I'm gearing up to do some work. I'm going to show an episode of a TV show in interpersonal today, but I have to check to see which one I want to show. Then, tomorrow is my last day at school before I begin twiddling my thumbs and waiting for labor to begin at home (instead of twiddling my thumbs and waiting for labor to begin while at school).

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Everything At Once

Over the past week it has seemed as though the universe is conspiring to overwhelm us with major events.

First, the flood in Fargo. My parents, Mark's parents, my brother and his wife, and several of our friends live in Fargo. When the water started rising, Mark and I were in contact with our parents every day to see how things were progressing. Well, last week, on Wednesday, Mark could tell that his parents were getting pretty stressed. They live very near the river and Charley, Mark's dad, had been working himself ragged on the dikes protecting their neighborhood from the water. Later Wednesday night, Mark was talking with his brother Dave (who lives here in the Cities). Dave had decided to leave that night to go to Fargo to help with the sandbagging. After Mark got off the phone with him I could tell he was really torn. Yes, I am currently 9 months pregnant (due Friday, April 3) and I know Mark didn't want to leave me alone. At the same time, I know that not being in Fargo to help his folks was really getting to him. So, I told him he should go with Dave. After debating internally for a few minutes, and asking me repeatedly if I'd be OK, he decided to call Dave back and tell him that he would be going, too. Everyone felt pretty good about this decision because at this point it was after 9 p.m. and neither I, nor Barb (Dave's wife), nor Mark, nor Mark's parents wanted Dave driving to Fargo by himself in the middle of the night. So, Dave picked up Mark and they hit the road about 11 p.m. I made Mark promise to text me as soon as he and Dave go to Fargo, even thought he'd be waking me up in the middle of the night. They got to Fargo around 3 a.m., which, while longer than the drive typically takes, wasn't as bad as Mark feared.

After Mark left I started getting ready for bed. I thought to myself as I was climbing into bed that the one good thing about Mark going to Fargo was that at least I would have plenty of room in the bed that night for me and the pets. Typically, when we go to bed at night, there is Mark - my 180-pound, 6 ft 1 husband, Quinn - the 25-pound sheltie-eskimo, Millie - the 10-pound papillon, me - not going to reveal my current weight, my stomach, and my body pillow. Eventually, we are usually joined by one or both of our 12-pound cats. So, Millie and I got into bed and got situated and I waited expectantly for the influx of other pets... And... it never came. At about 12:30 I got up to use the little-pregnant-woman's room and the sight that greeted me was: Quinn sleeping on the blue recliner in the living room, Ziggy sleeping in Millie's dog bed, and Fat China sleeping on a chair in the dining room. That's right. I had practically the entire bed to myself and NONE of the pets wanted to sleep with me. I think Millie was only in the bed because it is too tall for her to jump off. I'm fairly certain that Quinn was sleeping in the blue chair because he was waiting for Mark to come back. By the time Mark texted me at 3 a.m., however, everything was back to normal and I was sandwiched between two dogs, the body pillow and a cat.

The good news is that while Mark was gone I did NOT go into labor. Mark and his family spent three days sandbagging, dike patrolling, and emptying his parents basement just-in-case. At the same time, my 30th birthday approached and I proceeded to get more and more pregnant and uncomfortable. On Saturday Mark and Dave decided to come back to Minneapolis so and I was so happy that Mark was back in time for my birthday on Sunday.

As for my various birthday celebrations: I got taken out for delicious Thai food by my lovely friend Kristen who was visiting Minnesota with her adorable son Finn on Wednesday. On Friday, Barb took me out to McCoy's Public House for a delicious dinner and then we bought a new case, car-charger, and blue tooth headset for my new smart phone (birthday present from Mark). Saturday night after Mark got home we decided to go to McCoy's again (because I think Mark was sad he didn't get to eat there the night before). This was wonderful because I really wanted to eat the baked macaroni and cheese, which is NOT the dish I ordered the night before. Sunday morning, the day of my actual birthday, I started the day with a call from my BFF Ang and her daughter Isabelle. Isabelle was supposed to sing me Happy Birthday (she's almost 2) but then she got a little shy on the phone and would only sing me little parts of the song. I decided I wanted breakfast, so Mark and I went to the Good Day Cafe for breakfast. I had 49er Flapjacks, which are AMAZINGLY delicious. That evening, Mark and I went to Dave and Barb's for pizza and Dairy Queen cake. We also played a little Mario Kart. All in all, it was an excellent day.

Meanwhile, back in Fargo, the Red River crested but Mother Nature was not done yet. Yesterday, Fargo was hit with a blizzard that is currently in the process of dumping somewhere around 12 inches of snow on the Red River Valley. We are also supposed to get nasty weather here. In fact, I drove to school this morning in a weird combo of rain/snow. This afternoon I have to brave the wet roads for a haircut appointment and a doctor's appointment. Of course, I didn't know the weather would be so crappy when I made these appointments, but I can't reschedule because, let's not forget that I am due Friday but could really deliver at any moment. If I don't get my hair cut today I might not have the chance for another 5 - 6 weeks and by that time I promise I would look really really funny.

So, that has been my crazy week. As for the baby, Mark is convinced that she will be hear either before or on her due date, which gives her another 3 days to make her appearance. I'm hoping his prediction is correct. I am very excited and ready to move from the pregnant stage to the mom stage. Last night Mark installed the car seat into the back seat of the car. It was a little weird to see it in there this morning when I went to work, but is just one more indication that by this time next week (please, please, please) we will have a new addition to our family... and I will not be suffering sore hips or painful kicks to the ribs, side, colon or pelvis... like I am at this very moment... ouch.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cool Things About Being Pregnant

Ok, so I was talking with my mom on the phone last night and she gave me a little grief for being so down on pregnancy in my blog. Truly, pregnancy is like a roller coaster, and I'm sure most other pregnant women would agree that there are some great things that happen that make up for the uncomfortable things. So, here is a list of cool things about being pregnant.
1. You wind up with a baby. That is pretty freakin' neat.
2. Besides the baby, you also get lots of cool baby gear.
3. Feeling the baby move is, in general, pretty awesome.
4. Seeing the baby on ultrasound - especially the first time, is amazing.
5. Your family gets really excited about the baby. This is really fun.
6. You get to embrace weight gain - Not ridiculous unchecked weight gain, 'cause that isn't healthy. But it is nice to put aside your scale worries for a few months.
7. You have an actual biological reason to act mental. Pregnancy insanity is an actual condition. Look it up.
8. You get a magical pass into the club of women who have been/are currently pregnant. Bonding over pregnancy stories, while it may sound weird and too girly, is a great way to connect with other women.
9. The fact that your body can change to accommodate a growing baby is a biological wonder. Yeah, an uncomfortable and weird biological wonder, but a wonder nonetheless.
10. Did I mention that when it is all over you get a baby? Pretty freakin' neat.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Things I Will Not Miss About Being Pregnant

1. Heartburn - I am not joking, I have had heartburn almost every day since I got pregnant last summer.
2. Hip pain - this makes both sleeping and moving uncomfortable
3. Night trips to the bathroom
4. Only being able to wear 4 pairs of pants
5. Not being able to wear shoes that tie
6. Pregnancy-induced hotflashes
7. Carrying around 25 extra pounds - this is really exhausting and makes climbing stairs a trial
8. Not being able to pick up or carrying "heavy" things
9. Not being able to eat soft cheese
10. Not being able to eat sushi

Friday, March 13, 2009

Regular? China

My husband and I have four pets. We got our first pet, a cat, in March 2001. She's a gray tortoiseshell with a cute little tan strip up her face between her eyes. She was a really adorable kitten that grew up in to a totally psychotic cat. We got our second kitten, Ziggy, a few months later because China was lonely. Ziggy is also gray, but his coat is all one color. His gray fur is very dark and he has a perpetually worried expression on his face. In April 2003 we got our first puppy, a nine-month-old papillon that we bought from a breeder in Nebraska. Her full, AKC registered name is Merric's One in a Million - Millie for short. Today, Millie is a little chubby and a little neurotic. There was a span of a few months about a year and half ago when Millie got scared of her waterdish and would only drink out of coffee mugs. Mark and I thought maybe she wasn't getting enough attention from the cats, so we decided to get her a puppy friend. We didn't act upon the impulse to get the new puppy right away. In fact, Quinn, our fourth pet/second puppy, came into our lives sort of by accident when Mark found himself holding the little sheltie/eskimo cross puppy at a pet store in Fargo (yes, I know all about how you shouldn't by puppies from petstores. It wasn't my idea to be there in the first place, but Quinn was so cute when he fell asleep in Mark's hands that we were totally lost).

Anyway, that is the story of how we wound up with four pets. But today I am going to write about our first pet, China. As I said earlier, she grew up into a psycho cat. Once she knocked my Dad's glasses right off is face when he tried to pet her. She is widely known among our circle of friends as being totally cranky and nuts. All her meows sound the same: her happy meow, her sad meow, her hungry meow, her cranky meow, her psycho meow... well, they all sound psycho. In her defense, however, she has mellowed a litle with time and especially since we've moved into our new house. She appears to like it here.

China not only grew up psycho, she also grew up fat. For much of her life, she has looked like a football on legs with a tiny head. In fact, she is so chubby that we actually sort of renamed her Fat China. About a month ago, we decided to move her food into the basement because feeding the kitties upstairs was taking up too much counter space (they have to eat from an elevated position because if we fed them on the floor the dogs would eat their food). This morning I noticed that Fat China wasn't nearly as fat as she used to be. Apparently, forcing Fat China to go up and down the stairs into the basement several times a day to eat is having a miraculous impact on her waistline. Granted, she still is round around the middle, but not nearly as much as she used to be. So, now we are faced with the dilemma: Is it still right to call her Fat China if she is not nearly as fat? Do we call her Regular China or Not-As-Fat China? Some may say, just go back to calling her China, but she has evolved from being plain old China. She is something beyond what she used to be and I'm not sure if she can go back to being Plain Ol' China.

Monday, March 9, 2009

All Kinds of Milestones

So, I have two pretty big milestones coming up in the next month. First, of course, is the birth of our first child, due April 3. Second, and only slightly less meaningful, is my 30th birthday.

As you might have guessed, my birthday has been a bit lost among all the baby excitement. In fact, this might be the first year that I've been counting down to something in March that is NOT my birthday. Ask anyone in my family - I make a big deal out of my birthday and I don't usually let people forget that it is approaching. These reminders typically take the form of a question, ala, guess what is happening in 20 days... MY BIRTHDAY!!! And, I celebrate all month.

Anyway, this year my birthday is a little over shadowed by the upcoming birthday of our daughter (at least, I hope it is a daughter. I am currently suffering from the suggestion that she will be born on April 1st and will come out a boy instead of a girl. Normally, this wouldn't traumatize me, but I keep thinking about all the cute little girl clothes I have de-tagged and washed in preparation for her arrival). Last night was the first time I'd even thought about my birthday in several days. My husband was actually the person who brought up my birthday in a very random and tactless way by declaring, apropo of nothing, "You're going to be 30." I responded, "Yeah, thanks for that." So, I asked him what he was going to get me for my birthday - something I typically would have asked him about 100 times by March 9th in any other year. He joked about buying me Guitar Hero 2 or photography equipment (see, it's funny because those are really things that HE wants). I don't really know what I want for my birthday besides a new cell phone. So, if anyone has any good gift ideas for me, let me know...

As for the pregnancy, I'm currently sitting at 3 weeks and 4 days until my due date. Although, I was recently discussing the ridiculousness of the due date with a colleague. I learned in my preparing for childbirth class that only about 4% of all women actually delivery on their due date. So, planning your life around a "due date" is actually a little ridiculous. I've been trying to get my work life together in preparation for being gone. I'm planning to play the statistics (which claim that first-time moms are usually "late" - although, we've already discussed the ridiculousness of the due date) and will be working until April 3. But, just in case the baby makes an early arrival, I'm trying to get my last two weeks of work all sorted out so that someone can take over. Of course, I wouldn't mind if she came early. I'm getting sick of sore hips and having to pee all the time. Last night I was fidgeting around trying to get comfortable in bed (like I do every night) and was talking with Mark at the same time. As I'm rolling around trying to figure out a good position, Mark all of a sudden declares "I can NOT get comfortable." I stopped rolling around in disbelief, then said "Oh, you POOR THING." Apparently, Mark's hips were also a little sore last night because he had been home-improvement-ing.

So, the moral of this whole story is that Mark was ridiculous last night. But we had some good laughs out of it. I'm going to apologize for how disjointed this blog is. I actually wrote bits and pieces of it over the course of an entire afternoon. Now I'm really ready to go home.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I'll Tell You a Secret

I'm going to tell you a secret right now.

Here it is: Pregnant women don't want to hear your comments about how huge they are and how you can't believe that they still have x amount of days or weeks before they are due. I don't care if the woman has gained 70 lbs and has to be rolled around on the floor because she is so huge. I don't care if it looks like she has a fully inflated beach ball down the front of her shirt. I don't care if she has walk around with both hands under her stomach to support the weight of the baby. No pregnant woman wants to hear "Oh, you look like you are ready to pop at any moment!" Particularly if said pregnant woman has just disclosed that she has more than a month (or two or three) to go before her projected delivery date. If you are shocked when she says she has 8 week, SHUT UP. Keep your face neutral and stick to these stock responses:

Congratulations
How wonderful
You look beautiful
How exciting

Variations on these responses will work, but don't get too crazy. You can also combine any of these options if you feel the need to say more. For example, "Congratulations, you look beautiful" or "That is very exciting, congratulations. And, by the way, you look beautiful." Under NO circumstances should you say "Good luck with that" or "I'll be praying for you." As for the last comment, I'm certain many pregnant women appreciate the sentiment that you will be praying for her and her baby, but, put into this context, the comment is too easy to interpret as "I'll be praying for you, you are so huge with your giant mutant child that you are going to need it."

Down with Florida

I think I shocked a few of my interpersonal communication students this morning when I declared in class that I thought that everyone who lived in Florida should move inland and just abandon the entire state. I feel that Florida should be allowed to return to its natural, swampy condition. My students were a little surprised and confused. "But why?" they asked. I held up hurricanes as my first piece of evidence. Florida has been hit by so many hurricanes, the people who live there should just take the hint. In addition, it would be much better for the global environment, I argued, if Florida were just left alone - unbothered by human habitation. This is an excellent example of how I mis-use my classroom power for underhanded purposes. My students were so surprised by my statement that none of them even tried to argue. I'm hoping that because my argument comes from a position of power and seemed (on the surface) to be backed up by reasonable and logical evidence that many of my students will go out and spread my Florida propaganda. Unethical? Maybe.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ang Loves Donut Holes

I have been a bad blogger. So, this morning while chatting with my BFF Ang, I asked her what a good blog topic would be for today. She told me I should blog about donut holes because she loves donut holes and was, in fact, eating a donut hole at that very moment. So, I decided to write about how much Ang loves donut holes. First, however, a photographic illustration of Ang's love of donut holes...




Ang about to enjoy a delicious donut hole




Ang enjoying said yummy goodness


Ang highly satisfied by her tasty treat

Ang was kind enough to send me those pictures from her classroom in Iowa City where she teaches choir. She is an excellent choir teacher and I have often wished that we would somehow wind up in geographically similar locations when my children are of choir age so that she could teach them.

Writing about Ang tempts me to make a few comments on the value friendship. Ang and I became friends through NDSU's concert choir. She was a first-year student during my second year. While we didn't really become close friends during that academic year, that spring we drove together up to Grand Forks for an outdoor, all-day concert and our BFF-ness was born. I won't relate too much about that day, but it did result in really dirty feet, ridiculously uneven sunburns (one half of the face burned with white lines where our sunglasses sat, the other half barely tanned), and a friendship that is still going strong almost 10 years later (Holy Cow, Ang, we are OLD!).

These past 10 years have had great ups and downs. We were both bridesmaids for each other at our respective weddings. We have both been there for each other during health scares involving family members. We've vented to each other about spouses and families. We've taken trips. We've grieved the loss of a wonderful friend. Sometimes we go for days or even weeks without actually speaking to each other. But one of the best things about a friendship like the one we share is that even if it has been a month since we talked on the phone, we can always pick up right where we left off and enjoy that same sense of love, acceptance, and belonging that you can really only get with your closest friends.

On Good Morning America the other day they were doing a story on whether or not your partner/spouse should be your best friend. While I love my husband beyond what is rationale and we have lots of fun together, I would not say that he is my best friend, nor would I want him to be. Best friendships bear a burden of selfless support. I need my best friend to listen without judging or problem solving, to tell me I'm right when I'm being totally ridiculous and to confirm my worth on my most worthless days. I need my best friend to listen to all the self-doubts I would never dream of telling my husband. I need my best friend to be willing to send me silly pictures of herself so that the 4 hours of car travel between us, or the 4 months between visits, won't seem as great or insurmountable.

And that is why I hope everyone has best friends. Because who else could be convinced to pose for donut-hole-eating-pictures to be posted on your blog for the world (or my four active blog-readers) to see.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ali Rapp Broke My Browser

One of my favorite things to do with killing time is to check on my friend Ali Rapp's blog: No I Am A Cat. Well, she has recently changed her blog so that it only shows one post at a time. This means that in order for me to see if she has posted anything else that I haven't read (if, say, I haven't been able to check in on her blog for a few days) I have to scroll ALL THE WAY DOWN to her blog archive and activate that link to view past blogs. ANYHOO, as irritating as this is, being the fan that I am, I endeavored to check her past postings not 5 minutes ago. Lo and behold, trying to access her January blogs actually froze up my browser and I had to shut down Firefox and re-open it, necessitating a complicated series of keyed short cuts and re-logging into my email. In other quasi-related news, Ali has finally seen the light and bought a Mac laptop. Woo Hoo Ali! Welcome to the land of computer intelligent!

As for the Super Bowl yesterday, I was cheering for the Cardinals. It is actually the first time in several years that I have been invested in a team that played in the Super Bowl. I was understandably disappointed when they lost it at the very end (grrr) but have to grudgingly admit that the winning TD catch was one amazing display of athleticism. The receiver did an amazing job of not only catching the ball over the top of two defenders, but also keeping the presence of mind to keep both of his feet pointed so that he made sure his toes dragged through the end zone. Good work Steelers.

Other than festivities surrounding the big game, Mark and I did not do too much of note on the weekend. We did greatly enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. We had originally discussed painting the crib this weekend, but Mark was really tired on Saturday and didn't want to do anything other than lay around. This is a rare condition for him and I like to encourage his laziness because he works really hard and I am perpetually afflicted with laziness so I like it when other people are also lazy.

So, tonight I am going to earn my three hours of couch-potato-ing (new episodes of Chuck, Heroes, and Medium!) by cleaning up my kitchen and throwing in my last load of laundry right when I get home. Hurray for earned laziness!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Book Recommendation

I've been reading "The Middle of Everywhere" by Mary Pipher for a discussion group I am in at school. It is about new refugee experiences in America. Pipher lives in Lincoln, Nebraska. In an effort to find out more about new refugee experiences she started working with them. I have only read the first four chapters, but it is full of amazing and sometimes terrible stories about people who have been forced to leave their homes and find themselves in a new and foreign place with few resources and fewer friends. I didn't know it, but Pipher has written several other books on different topics. I will probably have to explore them. I always have the best of intentions to read more interesting and thought-provoking non-fiction... although I tend to fall into the trashy fiction trap very easily. Lately I've been reading a lot of Charlaine Harris. I read her Southern Vampire books (which I loved) and then moved on to her other mysteries (which I also love).

I've been reading a lot lately. I think I'm getting in lots of reading now 'cause I know I won't have time for it after the baby is born. It's working out well for Mark, because I don't care if he spends the entire evening playing Gears of War on PS3 if I am reading. Thank goodness for the Hennepin County Library request function. It is doing a great job of keeping me in reading material. I'm very excited because the latest Kathy Reichs book finally came for me this week. I've had to wait for, like, three months to get that one in! There was a big list of requests for that one. I guess I know what I'll be doing Friday night!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I Am Tired

I am tired. I want a nap. I cannot have a nap. From this moment onward, I am living this day for bedtime.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Writing My Memoirs

Not really. I'm not writing my memoirs, although I think it would sound cool if I told people I were. Honestly, I'm a little skeptical about regular people memoirs. Yes, I would consider myself to be just a regular person. I have had important and amazing moments in my life, but no more so than the next person. These moments of mine are amazing to me because they are mine, grounded in my past, my perceptions, my goals... I do not assume that others will find the same joy or inspiration in my life.

Two reasons why I am thinking of memoirs today. First, I thought it was really cool that Michelle Obama presented Laura Bush with a leather bound book and pen for her to start her memoirs. Laura Bush has had some interesting and amazing experiences. I would be interested in reading her memoirs. Second, I just got a promotional email from Borders.com advertising the memoirs of an author. They book was describes as "funny, and frank" and focused on the transition between need parents and becoming a parent. Now, I haven't read the book... I would probably enjoy it... but I don't know how appealing that is as a memoir. Maybe I'm just being overly-critical, but I've never been THAT interested in nonfiction. For me to get hooked, it has to be pretty spectacularly interesting nonfiction. Anyway, those are my thoughts on memoirs. Feel free to contradict me if you like.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama's Inauguration (duh)

The duh is because of course I'm going to blog about Obama's Inauguration. I have had several thoughts and emotions (as I'm sure many of us have) about today.

First, it seems unbelievable to me that this day is finally here! I've been anxious for it ever since campaigning began so long ago. Yes, at that time we did not know who would be sworn in on this Inauguration Day, but my cynical and disillusioned self thought that anyone would be better that George W. Bush.

Second, I think it is truly remarkable to see all the enthusiasm for this day! One of the news commentators this morning mentioned the feeling of celebrity that Obama has inspired. McCain tried to spin this idea of "celebrity" as a bad thing. My take on this issue of celebrity is that it is good to be in love with your President. Why should enthusiasm and excitement be a bad thing? In the past, we have lived in a largely politically apathetic country. Yes, we experienced a spike in patriotism after 9/11, but, in general, our recent history of involvement (as evidenced by voter turn-out) has been less than inspiring. The excitement, enthusiasm, and commitment to this inauguration by so many people is wonderful and I hope this engagement with our political process will continue as Obama's Presidency unfolds.

Third, I feel hopeful for our future. It is easy to get bogged down in what is currently wrong/bad/sad/unfair in this world. While we still have to see what this new administration is capable of, I can't help but feeling that this country is finally in good hands.

Fourth, even though I am really glad to see him go, I can't help but feel a little bad for outgoing President Bush. It has to be difficult to watch a country celebrating the end of your Presidential career.

So, those are just a few reflections that I have on this Inauguration Day. Let's all celebrate today and hope that tomorrow is the beginning of something new and great for our country.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

And I Actually Feel Better!

Hurray! I actually feel better today than I did yesterday or Monday. Yesterday morning was rough. I was VERY crabby when I got to school. First, I've had this cold for over a week. I kept expecting to wake up feeling better any day... but yesterday I actually felt worse. Ok, Ok, it could be a little bit my fault as I was finishing up a book. I didn't go to sleep until 11:30 - I didn't realize how late it had gotten as I was reading the last chapters. So, not only was I feeling yucky, I was also tired. And let me tell you, being over six months pregnant and lack of sleep do NOT go well together.

Adding to my irritation was the fact that the commute yesterday was RIDICULOUS!!!! Now, I'm not one to get made when stuck in traffic. It's one of those things you can't do anything about and I always keep an audiobook in my car for such emergencies as sitting in a standstill on 394 waiting to get through Spaghetti Junction. What really ticked me off yesterday is that the horrid weather we have been having covered all the roads with black ice and there were many stupid commuters out there who refused to drive prudently. Of course, these idiots got into spectacular accidents that basically shut down ALL the major thoroughfares in the city. So, these couple of idiots made everyone driving suffer. I can't like them.

So, long story continuing to get longer... I was in a bad mood when I got to school. I really really really really wanted coffee. But I'm really trying to curtail my caffeine consumption (I say as I sit typing and drinking a mocha - but it's the only caffeinated beverage I've had this week and it will be my last one until next week. Also, it's a small one, not the bigger size I usually get). After writing a cranky, venting email to my mom I started getting ready for the first day of interpersonal communication. The good news is that after interpersonal communication I felt MUCH better. Teaching does that for me. I often leave class happier than when I went in. Students can be great mood boosters!

After lunch I made a very important discovery... If I prop up my feet on my other chair and roll my purple fleece blanket behind my head I can actually sleep in my office chair! I do not consider these little power naps to be slacking. Indeed, these 20 - 30 minute naps are not only helpful for my pregnant self, but they make me more productive in the long run. I would say this time is better spent sleeping than, say, 30 minutes playing Scrabble on Facebook (which I also do in my office... shhhhh...)

Finally, I'd like to mention a post I read in my friend and colleague The Contentious Introvert's blog earlier this week. He was talking about being on the cutting edge of the trend of slow blogging. This was very exciting for him, as he claims he has never been on the edge of any trend, unless you count his clothes as being trendy in the 1980s (to which I would reply sadly, No, Contentious Introvert, just because your clothes were made in the 1980s does not make them trendy - stick to the slow-blogging, it's what you're good at). Anyway, I think the idea of slow blogging is a good one so I'd like to end with a little bit of broader commentary in the spirit of slow blogging.

I believe it is very important for college-age students today to begin understanding that they are the creators of their own destiny. In the real world, there are very few checks and balances... No one is going to tell you to go to class, or to go to work, or to balance your checkbook. It is very easy to live in the present and leave the future for another day (and I speak from experience here, especially when it comes to credit cards - boo). But taking responsibility for yourself and your actions now should be one of the lessons that college teaches people. If you don't master this early (or ever) you may wind up in your thirties with a house-sized debt to pay off (I mean, literally, you may have a debt the size of a home mortgage) and little idea of how to go changing your circumstances. This is something that my husband and I continue to struggle with as we pay off debt, pay a mortgage, and get ready for a new baby (child care is REALLY expensive - but it's hard to begrudge money you spend on having people take care of and teach your child). So, that's my bit of slow blogging for the day. See, in this blog you get two speeds, fast and slow! Thank you Contentious Introvert for pointing out this important trend!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Christmas Break is Over.

I'm 95% glad Christmas break is over. My break was nice, but pretty busy with the exception of the last week. Mark and I went to Fargo... twice. There was much packing of cars and unpacking of cars. A lot of trying to figure out where to put Christmas and Shower gifts, and alot of time spent with family (all good). We were in Fargo (the first time) for almost a week. We left home the night before we originally planned because of (of course) weather. Somehow, we managed to run around and be busy the entire time we were there. Jared just got a new game for Xmas, Settlers of Catan. We played Catan quite a bit. It is a very fun game. Dave, Mark's brother, also got the game for Xmas so we were able to continue playing it even after we came back from Fargo.

I also entered my third trimester over break. This is it, the last stretch. The fact that I have fewer than 3 months to go was brought home this morning in my 11:00 a.m. class when I announced that April 2nd would be my last day here for the semester. But I told my class not to fear, as I have set up the last weeks of class to run without me. They will have presentations and workdays that I can have video-taped and then can grade from home. I am fluctuating between times of exhaustion and lethargy and times of nesting and organizing energy. Unfortunately, the exhaustion times are a little more frequent than the energy times (this is evidenced by the amount of laundry I didn't get done yesterday).

My voicemail light is blinking at me. I'm scared of it. I don't want to check my voicemail. I have no idea how many messages I have... I haven't checked them since last semester. I hate voicemail messages. I wish people would just email me. If they leave call back numbers I am never able to write down the entire number before the message is over. Then I have to listen to the whole thing again. It's really a giant pain.

I think I am going to make myself some more hot cocoa to soothe my throat. I coughed so much in my class this morning (I have a cold) that now it hurts when I swallow. Stupid cold. I've had it for a week but haven't had any problems with coughing or speaking until today. But, that is life.