Monday, December 22, 2008

Update from Arkansas

Gosh, this is fun. I'm lounging in my new sleep pants, which I bought yesterday. They have little black dogs embroidered on them and they are flannel and it's 20 degrees here, so they're a welcome layer of warmth. I guess I brought the cold weather with me, because it's never this cold in Arkansas! I'd planned to sleep really late today, but they're building a dormitory across the street from my brother's faculty house, which is where I'm staying, and I could hear all sorts of construction noise at 7:30, so I woke up and now I can't go back to sleep.

I only saw Emily and Reece for a few minutes yesterday, but Emily's playing in a basketball tournament today, so I'll get to kiss on Reece during the game, then I'm going to hang out with them for the remainder of the day, I think. Reece has grown about two feet in the last month and when I went in to see them yesterday, he was in the kitchen making pancakes. I tell ya, he's an exceptional 10-year-old boy.

Mom and I went shopping yesterday. It wasn't as crazy as I'd anticipated, but we avoided the mall, which I'm sure was the worst place to be. Oh, and we went to church yesterday! I hardly ever go, but there's an Anglican church here in my hometown, so we went. It makes me miss church, but I never go in Columbia. I think it's because I don't like going alone and I haven't felt like putting down roots there. Plus I'm lazy. That's primarily the reason.

Had a late dinner last night with my old friend, Sherry. We reconnected last year after a very long time of no communication and it's as if we picked up where we left off. She was the best friend I ever had and I have missed her for such a long time. So glad she's back in my life.

Here's something a friend sent me. It'll make you happy:

Friday, December 19, 2008

Here She Is With That Boy, Again

Can you believe she's this grown up?

I'm leaving tomorrow for Arkansas for a couple of weeks. Can't wait to see that "little" girl and her darling brother. Even though both Emily and Reece get better and more fun with every year, I wish they were still babies and I could rock them and give them a bottle and they'd stay put and not be old enough to date. I bet their parents agree with me.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Serenity Now, Insanity Later

Papers - DONE!

Grades - POSTED!

Time off - FIVE WEEKS!

What on earth am I going to do with all this time off?

There's snow on the ground, but the roads are pretty clear. I love living where it snows yet I can still get out and drive.

Sandy is coming over tonight to eat dinner and watch a movie with me. That's good incentive to actually clean house, which needs to be done in the worst way.

I'm halfway finished with the third book in the Twilight series. I have to read the series for Teen Lit class for next semester, but I probably would have read them anyway, just to see what all the fuss is about. Emily and I saw the Twilight movie twice over Thanksgiving. I wasn't thrilled with the second book, but the third one has some interesting Native American folklore in it, which I think is great for teens to read. Maybe it'll inspire some of them.

I started THIS BOOK a couple of days ago. It's been on my list for a very long time and I found it in the reshelving area at the MU library last week and grabbed it. I think it's being made into a movie now, so I wanted to read it before I see the movie. I have four or five books I want to read over the holiday, so I'll keep you posted on those. I was also thinking of doing my own Best Books I've Read in 2008.

The dusty furniture is calling out to me. Must go clean!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Into the Mystic

Although I don't remember when I've ever been as ill as I have been this week, I'm feeling much better, thank you. Not that anyone, besides my mother, has bothered to call or e-mail to see how I was doing. That's okay. Santa will remember.

I'm now faced with this awful paper that I have to finish by Monday night and I'm nowhere near completion of the thing. So, so, SO sick of writing papers on topics that are of no interest to me whatsoever. I want to write fiction!

One of my favorite movies is "Once" and I took the DVD home over Thanksgiving so Emily could watch it and I think she liked it. My brother, Don, liked it, too, and I left it with him so his girlfriend could watch it. If you haven't seen it, well, DO! It's a wonderful movie that's full of beautiful music and such remarkable chemistry between the two lead actors. Anyway, here's something Don sent me this morning:

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Why Now?

Sunday afternoon, all aimed at getting my huge paper, due the 15th, started, I began feeling sick. And I mean SICK. Some stomach virus or food poisoning took over and I was violently ill from Sunday afternoon until yesterday around 5 p.m. For two days I've been trying to drink one bottle of soda and hoping to keep it down. Bleh. Now, I'm feeling like I've been run over by a truck. All I can do it lie here and I can't do a bit of work. I missed two shifts at work and canceled Monday's class and am only hoping that I feel like going to teach tomorrow since it's the last class for the semester. It figures that when I've got all this work to do, I'd get sick as a mutt. And, after I turn in my paper and my grades early next week, I'll have five weeks off, of which I will not be sick and will probably get bored! The timing is always wrong.

Just had to vent. Now, watch this and laugh and I'll be back in a few days, all chipper and ready to post some sarcasm:

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Homestretch - finally

After spending a week in 60-degree temperatures, I drove back to Columbia yesterday and today I woke up to this! Glad I drove up yesterday and didn't have to worry about getting home in bad weather. It's supposed to continue to snow until tomorrow morning and then warm up a bit for the remainder of the week.

I didn't want to leave Arkansas after a week of play. It was quite exhausting, all the visiting and eating with friends and family, the shopping, and going to the movies. What a fun week! I did have to play referee between Muki, the 14-year-old cat, and Abby, the 11-year-old dog. Don said his house was like a retirement home for old pets. Muki was aggravated that his space was invaded by a dog and Abby was so jealous of Muki when I pet him, that by the end of the week they were fighting quite a lot. It was funny, really, since Muki has no claws (on any of his four paws) and Abby is a wimp. It really was like watching geriatric boxing.

Emily and I went to see THE MOVIE - twice. Three times for Emily, actually, twice for me. If you don't know about this movie and the phenomenon of the books, then you've been underwater for a while. I have to read the series for a teen lit. class I'm taking next semester and I can't wait now that I've seen the movie. I think the author nailed teenage romance and Emily is absolutely in love with the series and now the movie. I am just happy that so many young girls are reading now! Seems that most of their mothers have read this particular series, too, and I can't remember that ever happening, even with Harry Potter. Dawn read the series in less than two weeks.

Reece is just as sweet and cute as ever and I was able to see him plenty and have some quality time with him. We had a good time shopping for basketball cards and looking at sporting goods. He also reads and enjoys discussing books with me - he's the perfect kid!

Emily and I had a great time together as well and I was lucky enough to see her play two basketball games last week. I miss attending those games!

Mom's Thanksgiving meal was beyond delicious. Thanks for going to all that trouble, Mom! We all enjoyed it.

Two more weeks of teaching and two more papers to finish, which must be done by Dec. 15, then I'm off work/school for a month! Words can't describe how excited I'll be when I submit that final paper.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I'm Almost Beginning to Relax

I've been home all day working on a final project for one of my classes. We have to come up with a program for a public library. Since I had no idea how to go about creating such a program, I brought home some books from the library on the subject and have been researching all day. I've finally decided that I'm going to "do" an adult reading program which will meet once a month for ten months. Each month will feature a book from a particular decade of the twentieth century, beginning with something written from 1900-1909, then the 1910s, 1920s, you get the idea. I got this great book from Barnes & Noble that's helping me choose books that really represent some aspect of each decade in American history. Oh, and the books are all written by American writers. I'll post the reading list after I've decided which books to use for certain. How does that sound for a reading program? It's sort of like a book club, but sponsored by my imaginary library.

Just two more days until I get to kiss these sweet boy cheeks:

I can hardly wait to see him and his big sister. You know, the one who dates boys.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Girls should not be allowed to date until they're twenty-five years old.

This ain't right. She actually went to a dance with this boy, her boyfriend, in his car. With the boy driving the car. That means she went on a Car Date. Did your moms use that term to refer to your dates with boys who were old enough to drive? My friends and I thought it was the dumbest thing we'd ever heard. Of course we were WAY smarter than our moms, then.

(Isn't she cute, though?)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

"I wanted to talk about how we had nothing to talk about."

My internet service, the one I pay for, has been down for three days. I called the company three days ago and was told that a fiber optic cable had been cut and Missouri and Iowa folks were out of luck until it is repaired, and of course the guy on the phone had no idea how long that would be. So, I'm using my wireless and hoping it continues to work until my regular service is back on. What do you bet that when I get my internet bill I'll still be required to pay for those days I didn't have service? This happens often enough with them that I think I'll call and tell them I'm prorating my payment. Nice thought, but I probably won't do it. Probably for the same reason I don't ever return stuff. I hate returning merchandise and will only do it if it's something I need to replace. If it's something trivial that doesn't work, or I just don't like, then I'll throw it away rather than return it. My mom buys clothes without trying them on, takes them home, tries them on, and then has to return at least half of what she's bought. Not me. I'll suffer trying on everything in a dressing room before I'll take something home that I might possibly have to return.

I am working this afternoon and then I'm coming home and working on papers, assignments, etc., until I pass out from exhaustion. At least that's the plan. I have so much work to do before Thanksgiving break it's frightening.

While I've enjoyed reading most of the required reading for my classes this semester, I've experienced a Tudor withdrawal, but I found THIS BOOK at the library yesterday so I'm going to be okay for a while.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Who's gonna turn down a Junior Mint? It's chocolate, it's peppermint, it's delicious. "

Once again, I have a paper to write. It isn't due until next Tuesday, but I also have a project due next Monday in another class, so I have to get started on the paper today and finish it by Friday. That's the plan. Only I don't want to. Any of it. Do. I want to read and clean out closets and organize CDs and watch movies. Doesn't this whole thing smell of end-of-semester-burn-out?

Reece called me yesterday afternoon and talked for 45 minutes. I just love that boy. He was on eBay shopping for football and basketball posters and describing his finds to me, while I was melting away into a puddle of love mush. Anything he says is the cutest thing I've ever heard.

I called Emily last night after work and we talked for a while, too. I call her every Monday night around 9:30. That's the only time I know she's home and not busy, so we've made it our time to talk. She's doing great and is so wonderful and smart that I forget she's a 14-year-old youngun'.

Just got a phone call from Sandy. She interviewed at the MU Library yesterday and she's relieved that's over. Hope she gets the job. She told me I'd been writing a lot about her lately and I told her that she was just about the only person I talked to these days. Have I mentioned that I'm ready for this semester to be finished?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

It's easier to come up with a post than it is to give it a title.

I was all set to write a happy entry this morning until I looked at and read about those poor kids in Haiti. How could a school building just collapse? Easy, when there are no building regulations. Of course, according to CNN, "Preval (Haiti's president) has since called for a review of building-construction guidelines." Isn't that how it always is in these situations? I remember a bridge collapsing a few years ago, I think it was in the northeast U.S. and drivers, in their cars, crashed into a river and many were killed. I'm sure the authorities knew the bridge was unsafe. And what about Katrina? It makes me ill thinking about the neglect and how unaware we are of most of it until it's too late.

On a lighter, much lighter, note, my friend Sandy passed her comps. exams and is coming over later to gloat and do the victory dance. Actually, she and one of her boys are coming by and we're going to lunch, then she's going to read a presentation to me for practice before her job interview on Monday. If you're not in the academic library world, you probably don't know, and you would not believe, what you have to go through just to interview for a job. It's an all-day, or sometimes a two-day event which involves coffee with people, lunch with more people, a presentation on your part, an actual interview, tours of the library, dinner with more people...good lord I'm nervous just thinking about it. And Sandy's doing all that next week.

I have to work at the library this afternoon. Saturdays are good in the library; it's calm, quiet, very little drama, so I can usually get my papers graded and do some of my own school work.

Big kiss to Emily and Reece. I miss you so much.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Vandelay Industries

You should go here and click to give on the Literacy Site when you have time. It's free, you just have to click. There are also several places on the website and links to other sites that have some great gift ideas.

I am so sick of school. I get this way after midterm sometimes, but this time I'm really bad. Every day I have to make bargains with myself to get my work done, like, "Okay, Vanessa, if you get two pages finished of assignment X, you can watch one episode of "Project Runway." (or any DVD)

Just finished this book upon the recommendation of several people in one of my classes. Possibly one of the worst books I've ever read. Don't bother with it. This one is on my nightstand now. Haven't read that many mysteries, but they're fun once in a while.

I'm watching Seinfeld reruns and Kramer just finished preparing a salad in his shower. He has a garbage disposal in the bathtub. I never get tired of that show and find at least once a day I relate some situation in my life to a particular episode.

Have to turn off the TV now and get back to work so I can watch more TV. (I are not much of a scholar.)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Nobody says it better than this guy.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

My Reviews For Today

Here's a book I just wrote a review about for one of my classes. What a story. One of my best friends throughout school was a darling girl named Sylvia, who was from almost an identical background as the author, but who was lucky and was adopted by parents who loved her. I kept thinking about her while reading the book. Recently finished this one, too. The author was married to Louise Erdrich, whom you may know from her excellent Native American writings. I loved the book and recommend it.

I watched this documentary last weekend and cried my eyes out. It was one of the best docs I've ever seen and I can't get it out of my mind. Honestly, we think WE Americans have problems. Please, please watch this DVD.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Mondays Aren't So Bad

Congrats to Sandy for finishing with comps yesterday. Comprehensives are those nasty tests you have to take in order to graduate. My first time in grad school, I got with a really good study group and we studied for two years for comps. Yes, two years. We met at least monthly and we all passed all parts of the exam on the first attempt, so it was worth it. Anyway, Sandy, I know you're relieved they're over. Wish I'd taken them, but I get to have my fun next spring. It makes me a little bit ill just thinking about it.

I'm getting excited about Thanksgiving break and going home to see the family. I am thinking that I'd like to bake some pumpkin pies and I want to use fresh pumpkin. Doesn't that sound good? With freshly-whipped cream? I need to learn how to bake pumpkins before then, though. Any suggestions?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

I'm Aunt Vanessa, and I approve this message.

"It seemed that each time we would become proficient at a given task there would be a change made for no apparent reason. It sometimes appeared that changes were made simply because sufficient time had elapsed since the last change. And then our efforts would begin again from the beginning." -General Adalphos

I had no idea how much I was afraid of change until I left my family and everyone I knew a little over two years ago to pursue a new career. Everything I do now is a change from what I was doing a couple of years ago, except for Abby. Yes, people relocate all the time, I know. Only I never did until I was in my forties. And I was excited, but very afraid, and I'm not usually afraid of anything. Now that graduation is approaching, I have to begin my search for a job and I'm up for anything. Maybe Portland, OR. Or Seattle. Or a small coastal town in New Jersey.

Who knows?

All I know is that I have no fear and can't wait for the next chapter to begin.

Friday, October 31, 2008


Rather than some typical Halloween pic, I am giving you one of my favorites, entitled "Guy notes." Thanks, Sandy, for sending it to me.

Emily & Reece: wish I was there to scare the shit out of you. Miss those good times.

Have fun today and eat some candy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Why I'm Still Tired From the Weekend

My mom brought Reece up for the weekend and we had a great time, albeit a short visit. It's been nearly three months since I've seen anyone in my family and I think I'm correct in saying that Reece has grown more than any of them in that time. The boy is so tall and even cuter than he was when I saw him in August. Mom and I tried our best to keep up with him all weekend. A ten-year-old boy needs lots of time outside to run and play, you know.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Belated, But Happy Birthday, Sandy!

I'd even written it on my calendar and everything, but still missed it. Hope you had a good day with your family and they did something special for you! Thanks for being my pal.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Still Working On That Damned Paper

THIS is how I feel when I have internet trouble and have to call tech support. Thanks, Uncle Geno!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Short Thursday Check-In

I have very, very few complaints about how things are done at the University of Missouri. It's a great school, really, and they seem to have it together when it comes to administration and organization. So, I was surprised when I encountered a ridiculous situation yesterday. I noticed on my recent paycheck stub that I was still being charged for a parking spot in the garage near the building in which I worked before becoming a TA. I stopped in at the Parking office yesterday to straighten it out, IN PERSON, since I thought that would be the most effective way to get the situation handled, and when I talked to the young girl at the front desk, she went to the next cubicle and talked to someone else about the situation and then came back to me and told me that I had to e-mail this person whose name she'd written on a post-it. I had to request, by e-mail, that they stop the payroll deduction for the parking space. The person I needed to e-mail was the person in the next cubicle! I'm standing right there, in person. I thought that was a bit ridiculous that I had to go home and e-mail the person who was on the other side of the cubicle where I was just standing! Bureaucracy at work.

Today is my every-other-Thursday-off, so I am staying home and working on a paper that's due next Wednesday. If I get it finished today I will jump for joy. I also intend to watch a DVD. I have two waiting for me but not enough time for both, yet I couldn't stand not having Netflix because I fantasize about having enough free time to watch movies. Silly me.

I've been seriously considering going for my PhD in Archival Studies, but two days ago I decided that I've had enough schooling for a while. I still plan to work on a master's in Art History, but not a PhD. After I graduate next May, I need to get on with my life - that is, I need to start having a life besides school. It's been so long I'm not sure if I know how to actually have a normal life, but I'm willing to give it a shot. Until then, I keep counting the days until Thanksgiving break!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's Banned Books Week

“[I]t's not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.” — Judy Blume

The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000*

Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
Forever by Judy Blume
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Giver by Lois Lowry
It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Sex by Madonna
Earth's Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
The Goats by Brock Cole
Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
Blubber by Judy Blume
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
Final Exit by Derek Humphry
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
What's Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
Deenie by Judy Blume
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
Cujo by Stephen King
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
What's Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
Fade by Robert Cormier
Guess What? by Mem Fox
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Native Son by Richard Wright
Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women's Fantasies by Nancy Friday
Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Jack by A.M. Homes
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
Carrie by Stephen King
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
Family Secrets by Norma Klein
Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
The Dead Zone by Stephen King
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
Private Parts by Howard Stern
Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford
Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
Sex Education by Jenny Davis
The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier


Thursday, September 25, 2008

More of the Same, Just Different Books

Earlier this week I was thinking about how much I have to do this semester and how to fit it all in and still keep up with "Project Runway" and maybe even try to watch a Netflix movie (no, I couldn't give it up) and then I received an e-mail from my TA advisor telling me that beginning next week I'm going to have to teach an additional class. That's more time teaching and grading. I haven't taken a nap all week. How quickly we become spoiled by something.

I'm taking a Children's Literature class and some of us meet on Wednesday nights at a coffeehouse with our professor and do our discussion face-to-face rather than doing it online. My two other classes are mostly posting online, so this is a treat to actually have conversations about our readings. There are eight of us who meet and we talk about the readings, and more children's lit, and young adult books, and then we invariably stray to conversations about our dogs and kids and fruit smoothies, then wine, and eventually we end up talking about sex. Then, in the parking lot afterwards, we talk about how much we hate Sarah Palin. (Hi, Kelly!) It is so fun. I look forward to it every week.

I have no meetings today, so I'm going to the grocery store in a few minutes, then I'm coming home and studying the remainder of the day. Abby and I will go for a walk around 5:00 today and then I'll study more and make something for dinner and continue reading. This is my life.

I'm reading this book for one of my classes and I watched the movie last Sunday, thinking it would help me with the book, but no. I'm only 40 pages into the novel and it's nothing like the movie, but I do like it and will be glad to right a review on it for class. Here's a good one, too. It's supposed to be a kids' book, but I can't imagine a kid enjoying it, but I loved it. I'm going to buy it and give it to Bera for Christmas. I'm learning about some really good books for Reece, so he's getting some for Christmas as well.

That's it for now.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Heterogeneous Mixture of Nothing Much

The first thing I learned when I began the Library Science Master's program was that librarians do not believe in censorship. I never believed in it, either, but I didn't know important the idea was until I began my studies. My new favorite website shows just how passionate this topic is for librarians. Go take a look.

Last night, I watched the biopic about Coco Chanel and was quite disappointed in how glossed-over Chanel's life was made in the movie. Shirley MacLaine should have been the perfect actor to portray the older Chanel, but she wasn't convincing in the least. All I saw was Shirley MacLaine, not the role of Coco Chanel. Is there a more accurate movie out there about Chanel? I looked at biographies and found a few books, but haven't found a movie.

Abby had a dental cleaning this week and she was anesthetized for it. I'd been putting off having the procedure done because I didn't want her put to sleep, but she did fine, except she had to have a few teeth removed. I've been giving her canned dog food the last few days and she loves it. She won't want to go back to the dry stuff she's eaten all her life, now. It's been raining constantly for the last couple of days and last night I took Abby out and she refused to do anything but run for cover. Then, she came in and pooped and peed. I had to laugh.

See how boring things are in my little world? All I do is study, work, teach, study some more. Tons and tons of reading and writing papers, peppered with an occasional nap make up my days. I am loving not working full-time, however. Studying is a lot more interesting than working in an office all day. Grading papers is another thing entirely. It's amazing that so many college students do not know how to follow simple instructions. They're all getting a lecture about that this week. I can already see their eyes glazing over.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Happy Birthday, Bera!

Doesn't she look great? She's proud to be 93 years young today. I just talked to her and she was already having a wonderful day. She had one of her sons and a couple of granddaughters fussing over her and she's expecting company all day long, so she's loving it. I miss her and told her I was crazy about her and she said, "I know you are." It should be obvious from whom I inherited my smart mouth.

Reece is at football tryouts this morning, and Dawn says he's got a stomach virus. He skipped dinner last night - that's a sure sign he's sick. Hope he's alright and gets to play on a team he likes. Dawn said there were over 200 boys trying out for teams, and they all will be placed on a team. Hopefully Reece will have time to call me in the next few days and fill me in on the details. I love to listen to him talk about football - he's like Rainman with the stats.

I guess Emily's okay, too. I've had one five-minute conversation with her in the last two weeks and I was lucky to get that! She's busier than a one-armed paper hanger and I have no idea how she manages such a full schedule at her age, but she loves it. We'll get to spend some time together over Thanksgiving break.

Speaking of break, I never seem to have one. I even canceled Netflix for a while. Can't stand it, however, and will probably resume it soon, even if it's only one movie at a time. The last movie I watched was THIS and I was entertained. Wouldn't want to see it again, but I did like it and would recommend it for the suspense and the lovely accents.

Just finished reading THIS BOOK for my Readers' Advisory class. Bleh. Not a fan of fantasy, except for Harry Potter, but I had to read it to get the gist of popular fantasy novels. Now, I'm moving on to the Romance genre and I am about to start THIS BOOK - can you say "Cheesy?" When you open the cover, there's another picture of a half-naked woman and a gorgeous hunk of a man and it makes me vomit just a tad whenever I look at it. Can't wait to start reading it!

Working at the library this afternoon. It'll be absolutely dead, I'm sure, since there's a MIZZOU football game at 6 and everyone will be tailgating. Except nerds like me.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What a Difference a Week Makes

I was so stressed about everything earlier this week, but now that I've seen how my days are going to be, I'm fine! I have someplace to be every day, but often it's only for an hour or two, which leaves me plenty of time to study. I taught my first class yesterday and my students are adorable. Half of them are Freshmen and they all seemed interested in being in the class, especially when I told them that all they had to do was show up and do their assignments on time and they'd earn an A in the class. I think I'll take them some candy next week!

I'm loving working at the library, even when someone asks me a question I have no idea how to answer. It's a constant learning experience and when I actually do help a student find something they need, I'm thanked about a million times. One of my fellow TAs said that she's addicted to the adoration. I thought that was funny.

Just finished reading THIS BOOK
for one of my classes and I really enjoyed it. Add it to you list!

The electricity keeps cutting off while I'm writing this because this huge thunderstorm just hit. Better go put a diaper on Abby. Storms make her pee!

Here's something I didn't know, but I'm going to check my tires in the morning:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

It's Already Piling Up

I woke up this morning at 5:30 completely saturated with anxiety, so I got out of bed and did my laundry. You know you're old when you meet the youngsters coming home from partying while you're carrying a basket of dirty underwear to the laundry room.

The last two weeks I've been in training for working the reference desk at the MU library and for teaching my classes. Oh my God I have never been so overwhelmed and I'm also taking three graduate classes, all reading/writing-intensive, and I have three meetings each week, and when am I going to find time to take a shower and change Abby's diaper?

I just finished THIS BOOK, which is the last for-pleasure-only book I'll be reading until Christmas break, and what a novel to go out on. It was the most torturous novel I think I've ever read, written in English, and I felt a little sick the entire time I was reading it. Fortunately, I'm taking a Readers' Advisory class and we get to choose our genre and I'm going to read "multi-cultural" literature, I think that's what it's called, and I'm hoping I'll find it interesting. I'm also taking a children's lit class, which is not my field of interest, but I thought it would be helpful to take in case I end up working in a public library. So, I'll keep you posted on my readings if they're worth discussing. For my History of Books and Printing class, we're reading THIS ONE
which is interesting and worth taking a look at if you're in love with books.

So, all I have to write about is school right now and I really need to get back to my assignments. Classes begin Monday and I already have a paper due next Friday but hopefully I can squeeze in a shower sometime this weekend!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Where to Begin...

I can't begin to write all the details of the past few weeks, but I had a great time while I was in Arkansas for two weeks. We celebrated my birthday and I got some great time with Reece, both brothers, and my mom. Emily came home with me for a few days, too, and that was wonderful as well. Here are pics of Emily and Reece, but I have a lot more over on Flickr, including a good one of Grandmother Bera, so go take a look and I'll be back to post more thoroughly when my brain is less fried.

Here's Emily in Columbia:

This is such a good one of Reece and Don's cat, Muki:

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Wrap-up, Ta-Ta, and See You Later

I know! Three days in a row with the posts. What is up with that? It's been a crazy week. My last week at work and Abby was sick (she's fine, now) and I've been thinking about the next two weeks I am free from work and school and how excited I am to get to go visit the family. I don't think that last sentence was very well-written, but I'm too lazy to fix it.

I spent the past week trying to get everything finished at work and even a little ahead so that my coworkers don't have to pick up much of the slack. Keila, my dear friend and student worker I've adopted, is going to take my job when she returns in August from spending the summer with her family in Texas. Since I actually dearly love my successor, I've tried extra hard to tie up all the loose ends so she won't have a mess to deal with when she begins trying to figure out all the crazy stuff she's going to have to do because it's a university. She will have to work with about a hundred different departments and colleges all over the campus and it gets really confusing and it's so easy to make mistakes, but she's sharp as a tack, so hopefully she'll survive. I worked there for two years and just began to feel comfortable with some tasks related to my job when I turned in my notice that I was leaving.

My photographer friend, Nic, and his girlfriend took me out to dinner Thursday night at their favorite Mexican place. (Note to Emily: do not ever drink five Margaritas in one evening, no matter how delicious they are and how cute you think you are while consuming them. You will pay the next day.) I was so ill Friday, I didn't make it in to work until 11:00. It was brutal, but I knew I had a ton of work to finish on my last day, plus, my wonderful coworkers were giving me a party that afternoon complete with homemade chocolate ice cream, so I put on my eyeliner and dragged myself into work and I swear I will never drink that much again. I still feel like crap today. I'm too old for this. (I seem to say that frequently, yet never learn, do I?)

This visit to Arkansas will be my first since my mom and Auntie Linda bought a house together, and I can't wait to have both women all to myself for coffee every morning. We are going to have a blast. Auntie and I are going to Tunica, MS to visit the casinos one night while I'm home. I've missed the hot, bright lights and the noise and the free booze. I've also missed Emily and Reece just a tad bit. We're going to have some fun, too. And, I'm looking forward to spending time with Grandmother Bera. I told her to have some stories ready for me. She can tell some fascinating ones about The Good Old Days when she's in the mood!

Note to my friend, Sandy: I am so sorry I didn't call you last Sunday after you were nice enough to invite me to your house for dinner! I had a nasty migraine all weekend, probably from the stress of the last couple of weeks, and I didn't call you. I e-mailed you but didn't hear back from you, but I know you read this blog, so please forgive me! I'll call you when I get back to Columbia and maybe you can come for dinner with Emily, Auntie, Halen, and me while they're all here.

I should probably get to work now on my house. It's a disaster and I need to get it cleaned up before I leave. Plus, my friend, Dawn, had offered to keep Milton while I'm away, but then she and Tucker decided to go on a cruise instead, yes, the nerve of them! So, I'm going to have to take the fish to Arkansas for the next two weeks. Plus the dog who's in diapers now. Geez. It's going to be crazy. I promise to post some pics while I'm away!

Now, finally, look at this Youtube. It's so cute and I used to have a puppy that looked just like one of these. Bye!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bye, Estelle

One of my all-time favorite characters is Sophia from The Golden Girls. I loved her brash, blunt mouth and how she could shock even Blanche sometimes. I, too, carry my purse to bed with me at night. Today I read that Betty White said, "Estelle may have left us, but Sophia will always live on." Here's to you, Sophia!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Jocular, Pithy, and Scintillating = Words Not Used to Describe This Post

This is a photo Lisa sent from Zambia. Lisa's doing a great job of keeping everyone posted on her Peace Corps adventure.

Back to the ordinary:

I took the day off yesterday to attend a library conference in the morning and take Abby to the vet in the afternoon. I ran my legs off all day and it was so hot I was miserable. I dropped off Abby at 7:30, then went back home to get ready for the conference, which was over at noon, then ran errands, including having my car waxed, then decided to do a little shopping before I met with Abby's doctor. Turns out Abby's fine, so the frequent stress-induced indoor urination is "behavioral." Duh. I was pretty sure of that already, since she's able to hold it all day while I'm at work, but when events alter slightly from the ordinary, she pees all over the place. I prefer to call it emotional instead of behavioral, since I don't think she has a choice. There's nothing medical I can do for her, so she'll continue to wear a diaper whenever we vary her routine and hopefully I'll still be welcome in my mother's house.

I have been home all day with a migraine, but it's better now. It started at the mall yesterday. I should have known. A little more stress than usual, the heat, and the mall sent my brain over the edge. I did find a skirt, however, for $3, so it was worth it. Yes, three bucks, marked down from $55. How about that? I never have such luck. And, I haven't worn a skirt in several years. All this change!

Next week is my last week at work and then I'm going to Arkansas to visit the family and some friends. Can't wait to see the boy and girl. Reece and I already have plans to see the third Mummy movie and spend some time at Petco and definitely have ice cream at least once. He asked me if we could go to the water park while I'm home and I quickly demurred. I told him I'd like to be considered his indoor aunt.

I'll be celebrating my birthday while I'm home, which means CAKE! Emily is going to Florida for several days while I'm home, but she's coming back in time to return to Columbia with me for four or five days. And, Auntie Linda and her granddaughter, Halen, are coming up while Emily's here and we will continue the party for a few more days. I don't know when I've had so much FUN planned. Can't wait to get started.

Almost forgot - THIS BOOK is one of the best I've read all year. Highly recommend it, but know that you won't want to put it down once you start reading it.

Monday, July 07, 2008

A Visit From the Golden Girls

This is the only photo I took all weekend, but I had a great time with my mom, Auntie Linda, and Roxy. Of course, Abby was stressed having all that company and that damned dog she thought she'd gotten rid of, and of course she started peeing all over the place, so I had to put diapers on her. Never thought I'd have a baby in diapers. Geez!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

What are you doing on July 4th?

Hope everyone has a good holiday! It's supposed to stop raining here today and the weekend is going to be mild and dry! That will make it perfect for going downtown and hanging out and stopping in all the great shops. My mom and Auntie Linda are coming up tonight and staying until Sunday. I worked on the apartment all week, cleaning, organizing, etc. That's one of the best aspects of having company for me - it inspires me to get the house in order!

My brother, Dave, took the family to Chicago this week for a family vacation. Emily texted me a few photos of the Chicago skyline and a view from the Sears Building. She's having a blast. They even got to go to a Cubs game and she texted me to watch the game and look for her. Of course I did it, but didn't see her. They're in Minneapolis now at the Mall of America. I told Dave he'd need to put diapers on Dawn and Emily before they got to the mall because they won't be able to contain themselves when they see all the shopping possibilities. I should have included Reece in that diaper joke, too, because he's as much a shopper as his mom and sister. I hope Dave is taking some B12 and drinking lots of coffee.

I'll be "Ca-chinging it" at the casino, I'm sure, while the fireworks are going on everywhere. Can't wait!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I Was Very Productive Saturday!

Grandmother Bera had these chairs and table in her breakfast nook and I always loved the chairs. She gave them to me when I moved and I finally got around to recovering the chairs and painting the table legs. I just love them now. Look over on my Flickr and you'll see the "before" and then you are welcome to praise me for all my hard work.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Internet Woes

Still having internet trouble, I know it's my modem box, but I haven't had a chance to take it to the cable place. The only time I can go is Saturday morning, and I wasn't here this last Sat. to take it. My buddy, Sandy, and I went to St. Louis on Saturday and had the best time. I love the St. Louis Art Museum! We spent a few hours there, and then explored some areas and ate at an Irish Pub and it was great. I'm looking for a place to live after I graduate and St. Louis is definitely on the list. More later, after I get my modem replaced.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Saturday is the Best

Busy day already. I had the oil changed in my car, bought groceries, returned some books to the library, checked out two more (more about that later) and talked to my brother, Dave, on the phone. I need to return my cable modem and get one that works from the cable company, but I forgot about it until just now and they close at noon on Saturday, so I'll continue to pirate the internet from one of my neighbors until next week. I've been aggravated with the internet for several weeks and the tech support people told me I had a bad splitter, so I bought a new one, and I'm still having trouble with my connection. So, I have decided it's either the cable cord or the modem box. I also can't remember how to connect my router, but that's another mess I'll deal with later.

I haven't told you guys about my wonderful Memorial Weekend with Reece. Oh, we had a blast. We shopped, bought lots of Mizzou gear, ate some really good food, shopped more, went to an air show, went to the movie, watched several DVDs, and played! It was fun being a ten-year-old for a weekend. Of course, it took me a week to recover, but it was absolutely worth every minute. Reece is still a sweet little boy and hasn't gotten to the age yet in which he refuses to have anything to do with his old aunt, so I'm taking advantage of every opportunity I can right now! Here are a couple of pics from the weekend:

This was at the air show. The show wasn't that great, but Reece came home with a ton of free stuff, so he loved it. And, he had two barbeque sandwiches which he said were great. He's so stinkin' cute.

We bought this outfit (he'd never call it an outfit, though) on Saturday morning and he wore it for three days straight. Not that I'm trying to recruit him for Mizzou or anything...

Back to my books. I just finished THIS ONE which is worth reading, and THIS ONE which was so bad I was angry that I wasted my time reading it. So don't bother unless you want to read about flawless characters and completely useless prose that didn't make any sense, especially about the Iraqi war. I can't say enough bad stuff about this book, but I'll never read anything else written by Gilchrist. True, I'd only read a couple of her novels, and didn't love either, but I was hoping she's redeem herself with this one, but she didn't.

I picked up THIS BOOK today. If you read the reviews you'll want to read it, too. Also, plan to start THIS after I finish the first one. Harold Bloom says McCarthy is one of the three greatest living American writers. Anyone have an opinion on that?

I have two weeks remaining in my practicum and when I walked in to Cataloging last Thursday, one of the dept. heads asked me when I was graduating. Hmm...Then, the head of cataloging told me everyone there wants me to come back. She said she's going to try to get a job opened up for me by next May. To say that that would be nice would be like saying I mildly enjoy chocolate.

I'll post new pics on Flickr sometime this weekend, so if you want to see more of the Cutest Boy in the World, be sure to take a look.


WAIT! I forgot to mention Emily! She's as beautiful and smart as ever and we had a good talk yesterday on the phone. (I love you, Sweetie.)

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dave

I had an even MORE embarrasing pic ready to post, but then you had to go and be all sweet and call me last night and put me on speaker while you opened gifts and the whole family was there and my heart completely melted. It did, however, freeze up enough by this morning to find and post this pic. What's a birthday without a little humiliation, right? Brother, you should have learned by now not to compromise your masculinity when I'm around to record it and use it against you.

Dave, you are such a great brother. Oh, hell, you are a great person, the best person I know. I could go on and on about you at length, but then you'd be too difficult to deal with, so I'm just going to tell you that I love you and wish you many, many happy years, and that I'd do anything for you, my dear brother.

Hope you and Reece are having a great time fishing today.

Your Big Sister

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What's a Synonym for Stress?

No, I didn't forget I have a blog, although most of you have stopped reading, and I really don't blame you. Who wants to check in to find the same post every day for weeks on end? It's just that I've been beyond exhausted. Stress wears me out, now. I used to be able to deal with it better, but now I just get all tired and cranky. I earned an "A" in both classes for the semester, so I can rejoice in that. I'm now doing my practicum in cataloging. I realized that I love cataloging and can't wait to graduate and go to work! There are jobs for catalogers everywhere in the world, including the UK, and I'm going to start exploring all the options.

Funny thing is happening with the family back home. Mom and Auntie Linda have been toying with the idea of living together. They're sisters, and great friends, and they have thought they'd be good housemates, so they decided to sell both houses, and the one who sold her house first would move in with the other one and see how it goes. So, Auntie sold her house last month and moved in with my mom. Things were going fine, and then Mom's house sold last week, and they have to be out by the end of this month! Now Auntie and Mom are about to be homeless. They are frantically searching for a suitable vacant abode as I write. Next time I go for a visit, I may be sleeping in a tent! I'll keep you updated on their drama.

Reece is coming up for a visit on Friday. I'm off Monday, so we'll have a long weekend. David is driving him halfway on Friday afternoon and I'm picking him up. David, Dawn, and Emily (she'd better, anyway) will drive halfway up to Columbia on Monday and we'll have lunch and they'll take Reece home with them. I can't wait to spend some time with the boy. He's requested some movies, and he's really excited about getting to spend the weekend in Missouri. He likes visiting here and I'm going to load him down with MU souvenirs while he's here. And kisses.

I've mentioned my favorite blog to you, I know. Well, this post defines me better than I could ever define myself.

I'll be back later this week, and will make it an interesting read, even if I have to make shit up.

Friday, May 09, 2008

A Mother of a Day

Take three minutes and watch. Happy Mother's Day, y'all.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Procrastinating, Again

That huge paper I had due Friday? The professor extended the due date to next Thursday! I am determined, however, to have it turned in by tomorrow night so that I can relax for the next couple of weeks.

My practicum in the MU Library's Cataloging Dept. begins the third week of May and goes until the end of June. I'll be working my job until 2:30 each day, then trotting over to the library to work (learn) until 5:00 each day. I will be pooped by the time it's all over, but I'll have it done! Then, I can relax and simply work full-time until July 25, when I quit, and take a couple of weeks off before coming back to Columbia to train for my assistantship, which starts when classes resume in late August. Sounds like I've got it all planned, huh? And it wasn't easy trying to get all these dates straight. I'm already looking forward to Christmas Break.

It's 8:30 on a Saturday morning and it sounds as if my upstairs neighbors are having a party. An aerobics party that involves throwing really heavy objects on the floor and then running outside. I want to go up there and tell them to shut up, but they don't speak English very well. Plus, I'd have to put on a bra and that's not going to happen today. I need the breathing room so I can write this paper. Which reminds me that I need to go make some more coffee and get to work.

I posted a few more pics on Flickr. There's one of Halen, too. Go look at how cute the babies are.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I Am Ready For This Semester To Be OVER

I have a huge paper due Friday, so naturally I decided to post a blog entry. I think I'd rather paint my apartment, wax my car, and give Abby a bath instead of work on this paper.

How cute is this boy?

You don't get any sweeter than this one, either:

Couple more things:

I am disliking Barack Obama more and more every day. And I didn't like him much to begin with.

I also dislike overly-sensitive people who act like babies.

What about that sick f*ck in Austria? And no one knew about his secret life? For twenty-four years? I can't understand this.

I am stopping all things related to school right now and going to bed so that I can pick up this book where I left off at lunchtime. It's soooo good!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Always Great To Visit Home

Emily made this for me after I shamed her into it. I really was joking when I said that since she hadn't returned any of my calls, e-mails, or texts in like, forEVER, I was expecting a cake when I got to Arkansas. It really was cute, Emily, and very tasty! You little creative turd.

I got the best pics of the niece and nephew, you know, the ones I've mentioned a time or two on this blog. I'll post more pics in a few days. After I recover from the minibreak and get my paper finished.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Whatever It Was, It Worked!

Thanks for all the praying, finger crossing, throwing salt over your left shoulder, chanting, whatever. I got the assistantship! Yay! I start in August and I'll be teaching three classes and working in the MU library at the reference desk. This is the experience I need to get a job when I graduate and that is such a huge relief. Of course, I have to quit my job and I'm going to miss most of my coworkers, but I'm definitely taking a step in the right direction as far as my future is concerned.

Tomorrow, I'm getting my hair cut, then packing my car and heading to Arkansas until Wednesday. Emily's playing in a softball tournament tomorrow and Sunday, and I'll get to spend some time with Reece, too, and Mom, and Auntie Linda, and Bera. Cousin Luann's flying in from Austin and we, along with her adorable sisters Lisa and Janet, are going to Memphis on Tuesday to see Elvis Costello. We sort of love him. I'm going to celebrate all the good stuff that is happening before I have to come back to Missouri and bust my arse to get through my final papers of the semester.

So! That's all I've got now, but be sure and look to the right at my new pics on Flickr. Dawn sent them to me earlier this week. Of course they're of Emily and Reece! Who else?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Saturday Tidbits

Busy week! Lots of school work; only a few more weeks remaining of this semester, which has flown. Still haven't heard if I've gotten the TA position I applied for. According to Sandy, our advisor said it would be a while, so I'm a little on edge about it. I want to know now so I can plan and worry about something else!

This morning I was on campus before 8:00 to take part in National History Day. The state competition was held at MU and I was a judge for the junior high division of performances. I had to watch nine group performances. Of 7th- and 8th-graders. It was great. This year's theme was "Conflict and Compromise in History," and those kids were quite creative. Eight of the performances were about women in history, and several were about how important women were to the Civil War and WWII. I wanted to jump up and down at times because I'm so proud of girls today! They realize that our sex has gotten the shaft for SO LONG and they're not going to let it happen to them. I wish Emily could have seen those kids. She would have loved it, especially since they were her age.

After all that, Dawn and her boyfriend, Tucker, picked me up and we went for a really late lunch. Before I start some kind of family scandal, let me clarify. It was my friend, Dawn, not my sis-in-law who's married to my brother. I wouldn't want to go to lunch with her if she had a boyfriend. So, family, don't get all riled up about that, okay? Anyway, we had a good time over lunch and several cups of coffee. Tucker is a high school English teacher, so naturally I love him. Even if he is a man. Get this: we were talking while looking out the window at the snow. What? Yes! It snowed today. In a way it's good, though, because that delays the fact the I am going to have to get a pedicure. See how I took a bad thing and turned it into a good one? Always upbeat, yessir.

Now, I'm going to put away the computer and read a little for one of my classes, then I'm going to watch a couple of movies. They're piling up and I'm not getting my money's worth from Netflix if I don't watch the movies and return them for more.

I'll be back before the end of next week. Promise.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

I'm Too Old For This

I hardly got off the sofa yesterday until about 7 p.m. Why? I hosted a little Wine & Cheese party Friday night, and what I thought would last only a couple of hours went into the wee hours of the next morning! Yes, I forgot that twenty-year-olds can stay up all night. Everyone over thirty left by 10 o'clock, 'cause they have sense. Except me, of course. But, it does mean the little shits had a good time if they stayed that long, and I had a great time. I just love the young 'uns. I sort of think of them as my new nieces, since I don't get to see Emily that often anymore. Also, I promised them I'd have another party before the semester is over, since Lauren is graduating and won't be around next year. I'm going to have to start storing up my sleep right now! Party pics over on Flickr>>>

My mom came to visit last weekend and we had a really good visit. It was her birthday and we celebrated all weekend, including a visit to the casino, where we both won. That rarely happens. I'm going to Arkansas in a couple of weeks, too, and I get to watch Emily play in a softball tournament. And get lots of sugar from Reece. I'm just waiting, because it's going to happen soon, for Reece to want nothing to do with my smooches all over his cheeks.

Homework is calling. Gotta get it done so I can watch this movie.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Been Busy!

As if I had to actually take the quiz to learn this:

Monday, March 24, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter

Can't believe it's already Easter. Didn't we just have Christmas? It's cold here, and won't be good for hunting eggs in the yard this year. I remember looking for eggs all over the house, then going outside after church on Easter Sunday and finding the beautiful eggs we'd dyed all over the place and it was a blast.

I bought a few new items last night to hang on my walls, thanks to my friend Dawn's help, she's got the artist's eye and she helped me find the perfect painting for the wall above my hot red sofa. I am the worst picture hanger there is. Everything's always off balance and I even use a leveler, but I just don't have the knack, but I'm going to try anyway. I'll post pics so you can all have a good laugh.

I've had three weeks of weekly drawing class and I love it. I've been doing a little sketching on my own, too, and it's a great way to relax and let the mind rest a little. Our instructor is great and the class is small and I'm so glad I decided to spend Thursday nights learning something completely different from anything I've ever done.

I have made a pact with myself NOT to leave the house today, however, until I've finished with a paper that's due tomorrow night. I'm about one-fourth-finished with it, so it's going to take the rest of this morning and probably most of the afternoon to complete, but then I can go shopping and decorating! Tomorrow is laundry, cleaning house, working on another paper, and watching this movie.

If you want to read a novel that will make you want to stay up all night and forget everything else you have to do until you finish it, try this one! You will lose some sleep, but it'll be worth it. Let me know if you read it, too.

Just finished the last season of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and I think it's the best season of all six, and I'm going to have to start collecting all seasons of it now. Funniest thing I've ever watched.

Can't procrastinate any longer. Must get on with the paper. Happy Easter.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Paddy's

Thanks, Cousin Candee!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I Met Rainman In My Laundry Room

In order to get my laundry done in one fell swoop, I always get up early on Saturday morning. If I'm in the laundry room at my apartment complex by 7 a.m., I can use all the washing machines I need and the dryers, and I never have to share any of them, nor do I have to talk to anyone living in the complex. And who wants to make chit chat at 7 a.m. on a Saturday? This morning, however, I walked into the lovely laundry room to transfer my clothes from the washers to the dryers and this old guy with huge eyes and a bright orange knit cap was standing in front of one of the dryers staring at it like it was a television. He jumped out of his skin when I entered the room, which has a combination lock, which is supposed to keep out the criminals, and I said hi to him and he said, with a booming voice, "it's going to rain all day and we're going to have a light snow, but don't worry, it'll only be a dusting on the ground and will melt by tomorrow, but get ready to swim Monday and Tuesday 'cause it's going to rain for 48 hours straight, but then it's going to warm up Wednesday." No, "Hi, how are you?" Just a weather report with absolutely no inflection in his voice and he never took his eyes off the dryer, so I'm not really sure if he was even talking to me. I put my clothes in the dryer and got out of there in record time. I hope he didn't try to smell my socks after I left.

THIS is my new favorite blog. Thanks, Cousin Luann.

I watched THIS MOVIE last night. Whew. What a movie it is. If I have time, I'm going to watch it again this weekend. Now I want to read the book, too. I also have THIS ONE and THIS ONE to watch, but I have a ton of homework to do, so I'm not sure if I'll get to them this weekend. It is, however, going to rain all weekend, according to my source, so I can stay in and work and maybe have time for some more movies.

I told Auntie Linda that I couldn't go to Ireland this year like we were planning to do. If I get the TA position this fall (I'll find out the first part of April if I do) I'll need to use that travel money to live on, so we're going to wait until next year for Ireland. She was fine with that. We're talking about taking a short holiday someplace, maybe Chicago for a few days, or Kansas City. We want to go to some art museums and see some theatre and eat some good food and not spend a fortune. Any suggestions are welcome.

Congratulations to Emily. Not only did she win her school's first place award for her science fair project, but she won the regional first place, too! Told you she was something else. She is also off to St. Louis today for a week. She's spending her spring break on a mission trip with her church. She's such a good girl. She's a rocker, too, which makes her so interesting. I sort of love her a little.

As for Reece, he's hanging in there and reading really long books and he's a pro at working me. We've had this deal going for the last several summers, in which I bribe him to read. I pay him to read, that is. Well, since he no longer has to be bribed, I suggested to him that I send him the bribe money at the beginning of summer this year so that he can buy some books. He told me that the fourth book in the series he's been reading is going on sale in a week or so, and he'd really appreciate it if I could send the money early, like NOW, so he could buy the book. I sent him the money. He's good, I tell you.

I need to call Grandmother Bera now. She had her battery replaced in her pacemaker earlier this week and I haven't talked to her since the procedure. I hear she's doing fine, and I told her to ask for a turbo-charged battery and she said she would, and she also promised she wouldn't say "shit" while she was sedated. I'm going to ask her about that one.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Birthday Times Two

Today is sis-in-law's birthday. Happy Birthday, Dawn! Sorry I wasn't there for the party. Would have loved to have some of that cake! Thanks for sending me the pics, though. You are so good to send photos of everything that's going on. Hope the snow's melted off the roads and Dave takes you out tonight to celebrate. XOXO

Tomorrow is my baby brother's birthday, so Happy Birthday to Don! I don't think he ever reads this blog, so really I should be posting a picture of him with a bow on his head, but this is such a good one that Dawn sent me from their party, I'm going to be nice.

Look at this next one. This is Arkansas! In March! Reece looks like he's frozen, and Emily just looks beautiful, as usual. So glad we missed that snow in Missouri. I've had enough to last until next winter.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Anniversary and So Much More

February 21 was my three-year blogiversary and I didn't realize that until yesterday. When I began this blog, I had no idea what I would write about, and mostly that still holds true. I knew I'd write about Emily and Reece, and thus the name of my blog. Other than that, I had very little ambition. Most of my readers are family and they practically never comment, but if I skip more than a week of posting a blog, I always hear from them, so, I know you're reading, family. I have a few fellow bloggers who read, and I love y'all dearly. Your blogs are so good and I love reading them and I feel as if we're friends. I'd love to meet all of you someday and have a cup of coffee and hear your voices! Some of my friends and coworkers read and therefore I have to watch what I write about work. So, thanks, guys, for reading me for the last three years. I'm sure you'd like to have that time back to put on your life, huh?

Nothing much going on here. It's 60 degrees and I've been inside all day working on a paper. Tomorrow we're expecting two to four inches of snow. Yes. The weather here is even more strange than that in Arkansas. Yesterday my friend, Dawn, and I spent a nice afternoon having lunch and being girls and going shopping. We looked at handbags, jewelry, stuff for our homes, and of course: shoes. Dawn, you are so much fun. We've both signed up to begin a drawing class this coming Thursday night for five weeks. Dawn's a graphic artist, and I can't even draw a crooked line, so I know who'll do all the laughing in class. I've always wanted to take drawing lessons, though, and I'm getting old, so now's the time.

I need you guys to keep your fingers crossed for me for the next month. Yes, you may uncross them to eat, but then cross them back again. I'm up for a teaching assistantship for the fall and I really, really, really want the job. My friend, Sandy, has been a TA for the last year and she loves it and has talked me into applying for a position. I'll know something by the first part of April and I'll let you know whether I get hired.

Haven't been reading as much as usual, but I'm finishing this one, and I'm also reading this one. Thought I'd read it before seeing the movie.

I started watching the series "Weeds" and I think it's very good. Those Showtime series, at least the ones I've seen, have all been great. Last night, after doing some homework, I watched "Across the Universe." If you've not seen it and you love the Beatles, you will like it, but you won't love it. I ended up fast forwarding through some of it just to get to the ending. It wasn't a total waste of time, however. I'm going to watch this movie tonight. My photographer friend, Nic, tells me I'll like it and he gave me the accompanying book, but I can't remember the title of the book and it's in my bedroom and I'm too lazy to get up and get it so I'm not posting a link to it. Wait, I think it's Speedology. Still not getting up.

Time for a late lunch and I really want a hamburger. I haven't eaten one, or any red meat, in so long I don't remember. Think I'll go to Wendy's and get a burger with cheese on it. Now my stomach is growling.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Happy Birthday, Awesome Emily!

I know I say this all the time, but, I can't believe you're fourteen, Emily! How did that happen? You're the sweetest girl and I'm so very lucky to be your aunt. You bring joy to everyone with your hilarious sense of humor and that gorgeous smile. I know your dad would love it if you were ugly and wanted to stay home and watch CNN on Friday night, but clearly that's never going to happen. You've got the most active social life I've ever imagined. And talk about smart! You succeed at everything you do academically. Hello, Ivy League. You're not so bad at the sports thing, either, you all-star softball/basketball player! You, my dear, are the total package and amaze me every time I talk to you with your intelligence. And, you love to read on top of all that! Stop all this growing up, already.

Aunt Vanessa

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Enough, already!

Originally uploaded by Aunt Vanessa
Yesterday was great. It was almost 40 degrees; there was very little evidence of the ice storm we'd had earlier in the week. Well. So much for the good weather. I woke up to this.

I got my haircut yesterday. Went to a new hair stylist that my friend, Dawn, recommended and I was very pleased. She gave me a good cut and my hair looked shiny and healthy when she was finished. I bought some Aveda products, too. I'm a sucker for anything that says it'll make your hair look fuller and healthier. The best part of the haircut experience was the fact that my new hair stylist, yes I'm going to keep her, didn't talk my ear off. She chatted a little, but didn't tell me all about her cheating husband or her lazy friend or her awful mother-in-law. I loved it. Of course, I'm always going to miss Marka, my Arkansas hair stylist, but I had to find someone here to cut my hair and I think I've found the perfect person.

Reece has been sick with strep throat. Bless his heart. I talked to him Friday night and he sounded really sick, but a little better yesterday. Here's to you, Reece, you precious sweetheart. Hope you're much better today.

Go over to my Flickr pics to see my new furniture! Love the color. The ottoman is actually the same color as the sofa and chair, it just looks lighter in the photos because of the texture of the fabric. I'm so glad I "went for it" and got the red, and I have a couple of throws and throw pillow options so I can change it whenever I feel like it. I'm truly starting to feel like the diva is awakening in me! Next thing you know, I'll be wearing gold shoes in the daytime.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Iced In

I just had the best nap. The entire state is covered in ice and it's been drizzling more freezing rain, so I haven't left my apartment all day. Have a lot of assignments to work on, though, so I didn't really need to be napping, but Abby was, and she needed me to snuggle with her. So, I just did it for her, being the martyr that I am.

Congratulation to Emily for winning her science fair. Told you she was brilliant. And science isn't really her thing, but she had a great project: What genre of music makes you walk the fastest? Turns out it's Hip Hop. I hope she sends me her paper; I'd like to read it. I probably should text her and ask for it. Did you know that teenagers no longer talk? They only text. They're a very quiet generation, actually. They text and they listen to their iPods. Parents don't even know they're around. I'm sure my parents are feeling cheated out of that. I was the loudest teenager in the world, with the talking on the phone and the listening to Led Zeppelin on my eight track. (I'll explain those last terms to you, Emily, sometime!)

Auntie Linda was supposed to be coming up to visit over the weekend, but she has gallstones. Bitch. She has an appointment to see a surgeon Monday and then she's going to have surgery. Wish I could be there to take care of her. I had the same problem in my mid-twenties and it was no fun at all. Here's hoping she's up and about in record time. If she's down for too long, the casinos will close.

I still haven't taken updated pics of my living room, with the gorgeous new furniture. Maybe I'll do that later. Now, I'm going to watch a movie and then catch the Clinton/Obama debate. Guess who I'm supporting?


Sunday, February 17, 2008


Lisa and Trevor
Originally uploaded by Aunt Vanessa
This is Lisa and her husband, Trevor. I met Lisa last year when she joined our office. She's an amazing writer and has the most unique outlook on life. I think she's one of the brightest people I've ever known, not to mention hilarious. Everyone loves her. She and Trevor have joined the Peace Corps and are leaving Tuesday for Zambia. They'll be there two years, and last night we said goodbye to them at a party. I'm posting a link to their blog so you can read about them. Lisa does the writing and you'll love it. More party pics over on Flickr>>>>>>

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Too Much Homework

Every night this week I've had to go home from work and do more work. That's not a complaint, really. But it's an excuse for not posting an entry on this sad little blog.

Bought new furniture and it was delivered Saturday. It's gorgeous: brick red sofa and chair, floral tapestry-looking upholstered ottoman that Abby loves to sleep on. I'm really excited about it. Once I get all the accessories in place I'll post a photo. Plus I need to buy a new lamp. One thing always calls for another.

Went to a party Saturday night. I never party. It was fun, and I met some interesting people.

Auntie's coming up later this month to go to an Irish Music concert. Want to bet we go gambling, too? I keep getting "free" money coupons from the casino and I hate to let them go to waste.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Double Digits

Where has the time gone, Reece? I was reading some of my old journals yesterday and I found an entry about you from 2004. I wrote that we were driving along, you were in your car seat in the backseat, and you said, "Nessa, when I grow up, I'm going to have a lot of money." "Oh, really?" I asked. "Yep," you said, "I've already got my own wallet."

You continue to fascinate me, Reece, with all your interests. Now, you're into guitars and music. Last year it was skateboards. It's still video games, of course. The interest that thrills me most, however, is your love of reading. I used to have to bribe you to read; now, you read on your own and you love it. And, you like to talk about books and writing, and you love going to the bookstore and actually looking at books. Makes me want to cry.

When I came home to see you two weekends ago, I walked into your room and you were sitting in your game chair playing videos (no surprise there). But I loved how you didn't even look up at me, you just tilted your head and turned up your cheek, knowing that I would want to give you a kiss. You still know how to make me melt.

Hope you had a great birthday party with all your friends, and I hope you get some really cool gifts today.

You are the perfect boy and I love you.

Happy Birthday,

Aunt Vanessa