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30 June 2008

Wait! It's a Weight Update! Or should I say, "down" date!

I happily only gained about one pound while on vacation. That is fantastic. I did my measurements this afternoon and I am happy to report the following ...

Waist - I've lost 3.5 inches!
Thighs - I've lost one inch!
Hips - I've lost a whopping 4 inches!
Arms - I've lost one inch!

While these aren't knock-me-down-with-a-feather losses, I am super happy about them. My clothes feel bigger and looser ... which only means that I need to buy new clothes. Oh what a vicious cycle ...

Our God is an Awesome God

As many of you know, the employment situation in grad school is less than ideal. FAR LESS than ideal. At the close of school last semester, I firmly decided that I would take out no more student loans to pay for my living expenses. I would still take out the amount needed to pay tuition, but that is it. Nada mas. Obviously this decision put me in a bit of a bind. I needed to find both employment for the summer and long-term employment for the school year ... that would also let me study for comps and write my diss.

I've been praying on this one hard since about April. I haven't asked for a specific outcome but just an outcome in general. Any kind of resolution was what I wanted. Something that paid enough to live on. And had decent benefits. I tried not to be demanding. I still put out applications and followed up with potential job leads, but I put my faith in God that He would lead me along the path that was right.

Today, God, in all His magnificent majesty, answered my prayers. Ann Taylor offered me a part-time management position, working between 18 and 25 hours per week, at a decent pay rate, with benefits. Of course, I gladly accepted. I had previously rejected their offer for full-time management because I knew it would be far too time and energy consuming. But I feel good about this offer and the situation I am in. I will continue to work for the Athletic Department at UNCG, but, unfortunately, I will have to cease working regularly with Joe-Joe. This I the hardest part of my decision. I love being a part of their family, and they mean ever so much to me. But circumstances have forced this change. I cannot continue to work with Joe-Joe and survive. Literally. Unless I go into double the student-loan debt I already have. I feel confident that this is the path that God wants me to follow, wherever it may lead. While it does mean parting ways with my North Carolina family, I'm sure that there is a reason for this. I plan to keep in touch with them and babysit every once in a while and all that. I just won't see them every day.

Going home at Christmastime for a week or two straight will also cease. There's no way that the demands of retail will allow that. But I'm okay with that. While I love my family and being home with them, sacrifices must be made to get through grad school an to achieve my goals. There is plenty of time in the future to be with them. Perhaps this is God's way of showing me the value of family and how to appreciate them. By taking them away at essential times, I will learn to appreciate them more. I think it will also allow me to really start my life on my own. Spending the holidays without my family will truly be a test, but it will allow me to grow and blossom as an individual.

Whatever God's plan is, I accept it and eagerly step forward onto His path.

29 June 2008

I'm back, bitches!

Oh yeah. You know it. I'm back from the Northeast after a much needed (and surprisingly relaxing) vacation. I've been almost completely removed from technology for a week now and it's been awesome. Although, I've spent the last two hours reading blogs, checking facebook, checking email (and responding if I felt like it) and all that other crap. But the vacay was all good and really nice to be home.

The Boy and I headed North on Friday. We left at around 9am and were making kick-ass time until we hit PA. And traffic stopped. For an hour and a half. On a major interstate. It took us 90 minutes to drive 9 miles. For those of you slow at math, that is A MILE PER TEN MINUTES!! I was super pist. And of course it happened during my shift of driving. Our 9 1/2 hour trip turned into 11 hours. Woo hoo. But, traffic jams just seem to be less shitty when sitting beside the one you love.

See how happy we are?!?!

Saturday was WEGMAN'S and Ithaca Coffee Company and Ithaca Beer! I'm like a friggin' kid in a candy store at Wegman's. It is THE BEST grocery store ever created. No joke. It really is a destination. We stocked up on "Northeastern" goodies (like Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and good cream cheese ... mmmmmm). The Boy bought 5 CASES of beer at the beer company, we bought 8 bags of tea at the coffee company. I just love going home and getting things that you can't get anywhere else. No one makes bagels like northerners, and there are just some comforts of home that cannot be found sauces and State Fair sauces and nuts and cheeses and bagels -- which Bailey and my mom's dog ate 5 of! -- anywhere else.

The View From Home

My Pops - The Man, The Myth, The Legend

Sunday was the family picnic with all of the brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews. It certainly gave me my fill of "kid time" for the next few weeks (or, at least until Sawyer comes to visit me!). The kiddies played in the pool and chilled out in the sun. It was supposed to rain all day, but the sun was out and the weather was gorgeous. It was a beautiful day.

Trying to explain that grapes will KILL my dog

The "Short" men, hard at work, "supervising" their kids

Afterwards, when all the familia left, The Boy took me to "our" place, Madelines, for tapas, cocktails, dessert, and wine. It was one of the highlights of my trip. The food was, as always, spectacular.

Monday was wine tasting and touring with the 'rents. We went all the way around Cayuga lake, and hit about eight wineries. Some were fantastic. Other's were meh. We did pick up a fantastic bottle of lemoncello from Six Mile Creek Winery. Who knew, right?

My Favorite Place with My Favorite People

Tuesday was the late-night trip to Beantown. We left Ithaca around 10pm and finally arrived in Boston at 3am. I drove the whole trip, and it was pretty tiring. But the cool thing about driving all night is that there is no traffic! Yeah! My nephew Corey slept the whole way, crumpled up in the back seat. I would have been paralyzed if I had tried that. Oh to be young again.

After about 4 hours of sleep, we all got up and started the day. Corey and I chilled out by the pool while The Boy and his Pops cooked a massive cookout. When I say massive, I mean MASSIVE. I had been warning Corey about the food situation, but he didn't seem to believe me. But when lunch was served, he began to see. We had veal chops, lamb, giant top-quality burgers, grilled chicken breasts, salad, fruit, canollis ... all for lunch. It was INSANE. Corey was in his glory because he loves red meat, but after three days of eating like this at EVERY meal, he was a bit warn out. It was funny to watch his face literally drop every time I called him to dinner. He just had no more room to store it all! It was pretty hysterical. Those Eye-Ties like to eat.

The BoSox game was at 7 that night. We headed to the train around 3 and spent time showing Corey the park and the shops around it. The sun had finally started to set when the game began. He loved it. He was having a great time. At least, I think he was. It's hard to tell with teen aged boys. They are so, "yeah, whatever." Our boys won the game, and it was a fantastic game! They brought Papelbon out to get the last out, and the whole park stood up and clapped in rhythm until the out was made. Some very good playing on both teams. The weather was gorgeous, the game was fantastic, and fun was had by all.

Corey, the nephew

The Boy and His Pops

Me and The Boy
We're still happy and we've been together 24-7 for a week straight!

Nite games are always pretty.

We walked to the Common after the game (it was still relatively early and the weather was phenomonal) and took the train the rest of the way home. We got back to Peabody around 1 and collapsed.

The next day was shopping and the liquor/cigar run to New Hampshire. The Boy bought himself a box of nice cigars and us a few cases of booze for the bar. We are happily replenished. After running the usual errands, we returned home for another monster meal. I thought Corey was going to die. But he was a trooper and pulled through.

We returned to NY the next afternoon, and I attended my former 7th grader's graduation. She was valedvictorian. Oh yeah. It was all me and my amazing teaching. You know it. The it was back to NC on Saturday morning.
Bailey says, "Car rides bore me!"

Phew. I'm tired.

And now my air conditioning is broken again. But, happily, all of the fish survived my absence!

(How ya like all them pics, Kirs?! )

19 June 2008

The complexitites of the English Language

One last post before I'm out ...

Sorry, I love the Rat Dictionary strips! Pastis needs to do them more often! At least now we know how to speak to and interpret our students' seemingly foreign language!

18 June 2008

I'm out

Well, tomorrow begins my vacation. I head to Winston for the night, and then The Boy, The Beast, and I all head north to NY and MA. As a result of this much needed vacation, I will not be blogging until we return. I'll do my best to provide some pics of home, family, friends, Boston, Fenway, the ballgame, and other fun things. I know how Kiki loves photo blogs. I'll be back in a week and a half.

Peace out, bitches.

(On a side note, I've lost 13 lbs.! Hopefully I won't gain it all back while on vacation!)

What fish do for fun

My cichlid is crazy. It does this all day and night.

(Sorry if it's dark, Kia. I'm still a novice filmmaker!)

Black Hole

I think my fish tank has a black hole. I'm not sure where this black hole is exactly or where it leads to, but every few days, a fish or two will disappear into it. I will search the tank frantically for the missing fish (carcass) but will find nothing. I'll lift rocks, move plants, look under the bubble feature, but no fish. However, when I check in the morning or a few hours later, the fish have returned! Last night my pleco and Shelley the Snail got sucked into the black hole. Let me tell you, the pleco is rather camouflaged and disguised, so I might have missed him in my search. But Shelley is the size of a large marble. And she's ivory-yellow in color. How could I miss her?

I equate the black hole as my fishes way of "sneaking out" of the house. They go off to some rave and drop X and smoke pot and drink hard liquor all night long but return in time for breakfast. Only they don't stuff their blankets with their pillows to fool me. Silly fish.

Oh yeah. I've got their number.

Oh, the insight of a rat

Funny how this describes so much of our lives ...

Man, Pearls is having a good run!

17 June 2008

Those swine have my number

Don't we all hate days like these?

But I am still losing weight though. I And I've actually been going to the gym, not just driving by!

16 June 2008

Back on Track

As many of you probably know, I've been a bit lax on my comps studying lately. I don't know, but I've just lost the motivation. And then the feeling of being behind was a bit overwhelming, so I pushed it off even more. And then my special topics list kept getting adjusted so it was hard to maintain a momentum.

But, I am happy to report that all of that is a thing of the past!!! I have revised my schedule, and I'm not all that behind. In some fortuitous brain blast, I only scheduled one work per week for the summer. Given that each "work" is actually just a chapter or two, I can quite feasibly double (and sometimes even triple) up on the work each week and still meet my goals and deadlines. This makes me feel much better. I've spent the morning reading and the afternoon revising my lists and schedule. I have a few works to read this week (one which I've already read so that is good) and only one review work for next week since I'll be in Nueva York and Bean-town with the family. I'll do my best to read by the pool. But, like I said, I've already read it once so it shouldn't be too taxing.

Yeah! Relief! Mucho mejor!

15 June 2008

Just call me Cruella DeVille

All three of my Dalmation Mollies died this weekend. It makes me moderately sad. They all died within ten hours of each other, so I'm thinking the batch was bad. I had my water tested, and it was fine. I replaced them with black mollies (thanks to PetSmart's return policy!) All of the other fish are doing well.

Well, with one exception.

Burke died on Friday. It makes me more than moderately sad. I've had him forever. Well, forever in fish terms. I got him on October of last year. That's a damn long time for a fishy. Anyway, he got some kind of fungus and then lost his buoyancy. It was really sad to watch him deteriorate. I almost cried when it was official. But I held it together for the sake of the other fish. I didn't want them to realize what had happened. Plus they were probably relieved. He was a bit of a bastard to them.

11 June 2008

Pics of the tank

I've added some new babies today: 3 Gouramis (blue, red, and dwarf), 2 Mickey Mouse Platys, and a Pleco (a sucker fish). (Another died this morning. It was real tragic. I watched it die. It just kinda stuck it's nose into the rocks and stopped moving. I fished him out and got a replacement for him and the suicide jumper from yesterday). There are now fourteen fishies in the tank (not counting Shelley). I took some pics for you to enjoy. I'm rather astonished at how well they actually turned out!
This is Shelley the Snail. If you look closely, you can see her sucker mouth!
This is one of Burke swimming above the pink flower.

Nite Church

I attended Key to the Scriptures last night at OLG. It was an interesting and different experience from my RCIA days. I knew a lot of the people there and felt far more confident in actually being there. I chatted with some friends, and then we got down to the business of talking about God's covenants and the Bible and things of the sort.

At one point we talked about prayer and how the most important part of prayer -- the part that is so easy to forget -- is to listen. Every day, sometimes multiple times, we burden God with our requests and worries and trials and hopefully thank Him for his blessings. After we pray, we say "Amen" and that is that. We never stop to listen for His responses. Boston Bob read a short little passage about the voice that God uses, and it really made me think.

"So He said, "Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD." And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing."

We always expect God's voice to be loud and booming and powerful. A thunderbolt from heaven, a monsoon wind, a falling redwood. All to often, God's voice is still and quiet, and we have to listen hard to hear it. His voice is too easily drowned out by the sounds of our lives. The hustle and bustle of our day makes His voice so hard to hear. That is why we must listen and listen hard. His voice is heard in the sunbeams and the gentle breezes and the laughter of children. If we expect God to speak to us in grandeur and flash, then we will miss His message. If we look for His words in the stillness and quiet, there He will be found. In our crazy and hectic lives, we must find that stillness to sit and listen. And wait in peace. His words are there.

So much of my prayers are "wasted" on my worries. I worry about money and friends and family and the people unprotected in this heat and all of these things. My mom and The Boy (and most people who know me) tell me that I worry too much about those things that I cannot control. I thought that finding a few verses regarding anxiety might help me to keep perspective on things. and, using the good old concordance, I found a few. Since so many of us are in the same boat (the S.S. Worry's A Lot), I thought that I would share.

"Therefore don't be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day's own evil is sufficient." Matthew 6:34

herefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:5-6

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit." Jeremiah 17:7-8

I really appreciate how the Bible has very realistic and applicable connections to today's world. It truly is a living text that we can still relate to. I like being able to acknowledge a specific struggle and being able to seek guidance and reassurance immediately. Me and my books, right?

Tonight is week 2 of Theology on Tap. I'm pretty excited! Yeah for Nite Church!

10 June 2008

Fish down! Fish down!

I came home and one of my little red fishies was missing! I immediately thought that Burke had murdered her. But I saw no fishy skeleton or remains floating around. In fact, the fish was no where to be seen. I felt solace knowing that Burke wasn't the direct cause for the missing. I say "direct" because the fish was found on the floor behind the tank where it landed when it leapt out. I'm fairly certain that Burke may have played a part in the fishy's demise as he chased the poor little guy around the tank. The fish was probably trying to escape!

The good thing is that PetSmart has a 14-day fish policy so the other red platy won't be lonely for long!

100 things

I was reading at the gym this morning about this new movement to reduce our dependence on "things." It's called the "100 Thing Challenge." The premise behind it is that participants willingly widdle their belongings down to 100 things. Literally. You allowed to own 100 things. I appreciate the premise behind it. We are far too dependent upon physical things to make us happy. We have all kinds of belongings -- pictures, clothing, shoes (although it kills me to write that!), old memorabilia, meaningless junk ... -- that clutter our homes and make it hard to move on. They bind us to the past. Which can be bad but can also be good. I mean, there are a lot of things that I am proud of from my past. But, do I really need pictures and miniature monuments to remind me of those moments? Don't my memories serve me well enough?

While I feel this way, it also seems unrealistic to reduce my belongings to 100 items. While the rules aren't steadfast, does that include clothes? Shoes? Bailey? My fish? CDs and DVDs? Furniture? Jewelry? Photos? Books? I mean, hell, I own 70 pairs of shoes. I'm sure I have more than 100 articles of clothing? I don't even want to count the books that I own? How can a person literally own just 100 things? Does that count food in the cabinets? Pots and pans? Silverware and dishes? I just don't think that this is physically doable.

But it makes me wonder ... what would I keep and what would I part with?

In Fishy News ...

We all survived the night. No dead bodies. No nibbled fins. No blood shed. Now I can think about names since they made it through the night...

Burke has totally commandeered one corner/half of the tank. He lies in wait under the tiny little castle, waiting for a fish to come into his "territory" so he can drive it off. It's pretty funny. It's only funny because he's not actually hurting anyone. He totally acts like a little Napoleon. I'm thinking I need to get a bigger fish to show him who's boss. We'll see. Maybe tonight. Maybe tomorrow. If he doesn't start playing nice, I may have to put him back in solitary (his own private bowl). Although, I will give him credit. He has stopped flaring his gills and is considerable less aggressive than last night. Maybe he just needs time.

I just want to say that I am totally fascinated by this whole aquarium thing. I've only ever had a fish in a bowl, never a bunch of fish in a giant aquarium. It's like the freakin' animal kingdom is right here in my living room! I'm sorry for those of you who read this who are bored by my fishy adventures, but this shit is fantastic!

07 June 2008

Dessert night!

I had the girls over last night for a dessert party. Everyone was here! Laura brought these brownie cheesecake cupcake things that were awesome. Brandy brought a ridiculously good peanut butter pie. Kristen brought some fantastic banana split brownie concoction. Sarah and Emma, being smart, brought egg salad sandwiches (knowing that all the sugar would throw us into shock!). Rae brought some very yummy strawberry shortcake, and Liz brought some fruit and yogurt. Mel also had some remarkable foresight and brought chips and dip. I also provided a coconut cake from Ganache and guacamole from Earthfare ... obviously to be eaten separately! The food was spectacular. We polished off five bottles of wine and a few beers.

This is not counting the bottle of wine that had fermented in the bottle. Rae broke the corkscrew trying to get it open. She actually lodged the screw part inside of the cork and snapped off the handle! The cork was then firmly lodged inside the bottle, and we had to smash the neck off the bottle to get it open. Unfortunately the wine had turned and all was for naught. But it was pretty fantastic to see Rae kick that corkscrew's ass!

Even though the air conditioning wasn't working perfectly, we still had a pretty kick ass time! Yeah for girls' night!

04 June 2008

More shoe shopping for the weary soul

Check it out. I just purchased these bad boys. In ivory and blue ...

I am so friggin' stoked!

Another reason I love being Catholic...

Tonight I attended "Theology on Tap." It is a function sponsored by the local parishes where we all get together (adults only) at Natty Greene's, drink beer, eat food, and discuss some issue of the Church's teaching. Only in a Catholic church would this type of event EVER be endorsed by the Church "powers."

We talked about "EVIL" tonight. How it manifests, what it is, why we even need to be aware of it. It all boils down to free will and acknowledging that there is temptation (whether it is the work of the devil is irrelevant). Knowing that evil is out there prepares us to be ready to confront it and avoid it. While I didn't need a speaker to inform me of this, it was cool to get out there and meet other people from other parishes. I may have even made a new friend!! Go me!!

Weight Update

I'm down ten pounds!

I weighed myself this morning for the first time in a few weeks (I've been off-track given my move and all the other crap going on!). I was elated to see that I had continued to lose weight. I guess I was being good after all! Long story short, I'm half way to my goal. I need to keep my ass in gear this next month, or I'll be owing some peeps some moolah!

I'm pretty happy today. What a good way to start the day ... step on the scale and be that much lighter!

03 June 2008

Today was a day

I woke up, worked out, ate lunch, putzed around the house, went to work, fed LL's cats, and, most importantly, I STUDIED!!!!!!!!!!

Now I'm watching a movie.

Bike butt

I just biked to campus, picked up 45 lbs. of books from the library, worked out at the gym, and then biked home.

My ass really hurts.


02 June 2008


Well, I finally got some work done. I was able to maintain focus long enough to 1.) enter all of the new titles/authors for my special topics list, 2.) look up the ISBNs for all of the books I need to get from the library, and 3.) read a chapter from one of my texts while sitting on the front porch. It's not much, but it makes me feel a little less like a lazy ass.

Tomorrow is trash day. I look up and down the street and people have HEAPINGLY (which isn't a word, but I don't care) full trash bins. I mean, trash gets picked up EVERY Tuesday. How do these people generate so much crap? My ginormous (another non-word) trash bin that the city provides has one small bad of trash and a broken metal picture frame inside. Part of me didn't even want to put it out on the curb, but I figured it would be smelly by this time next week.

As a result of this observation, I've decided to start an apartment compost bin. After a quick Google search, it is clear that a lot of people do this already. Some people even keep their compost bin inside the house. Apparently, if a compost bin is maintained correctly, there is no garbage smell. That made me very happy to read. When I think about the things that actually go into my trash barrel, the vast majority of it is food scraps. My most recent bag of trash is filled with strawberry waste, apple cores, wrinkled blueberries, banana peels, salad remains, and the like. If I can compost all of that, I'll be able to seriously reduce my trash output (and, in effect, do my part to decrease landfill spaces) at the same time that I generate high quality organic soil for my house plants. Both of these factors make me happy!

The process is relatively easy as well. All I need is a 20-gallon plastic bucket with some holes drilled in the bottom. Some dry bedding/soil, slats to prop it on for aeration, a "stir" stick, and maybe some wood ash (if I am able to happen upon some). I can keep it outside my back door and throw my scraps if non-protein foods (i.e no meat scraps) into it on a regular basis. I'm going to try to find a bucket tomorrow. I'm sure I can find one for free somewhere. In a few months, I'll have some top-notch soil for my pretty little plants!

It scares me just a little that I am turning into a tree-hugger.

Avoiding work and helping the Earth

I just can't seem to get motivated to work lately. I get a ton of stuff done - housework, cleaning, working out, working, playing/walking with Bailey - but I can't seem to find the desire/motivation/impetus to crack a single book for my comps. What kind of funk am I in? I haven't "studied" in over a month. That is bad. The good part is that I've only got my tertiary list left which happens to be one I already feel very confident about. But the fact remains that I still need to actually get some notes down. In the meantime, I am finding every possible reason to not study ... like watching really bad French musicals from the 50s.

Today I even mopped my upstairs floors to avoid work. Scary, huh? It was actually an effort to help save the Earth. Target carries a brand called Method, and it is all household and personal care products that are 100% biodegradable and are basically ingestible (i.e. they won't harm me or Bailey if we were to accidentally ingest them). They also don't pollute the ground water or kill local flora when dumped/washed down the drain. I've been trying hard to incorporate more "green" products (other than food) into my life, and this is just one more attempt. (I've started using their laundry detergent, and I have no complaints thus far.) Anyway, the last time LL was over, she suggested that I get a Swiffer to clean all of my hardwood floors (which is EVERY floor except the bathroom and kitchen). I like the convenience and ease of the Swiffer, but I'm not a big fan of the chemicals and waste it makes. Turns out, Method has a similar product that is all green and completely compostable. Instead of having plastic-based pads to "sweep" with, Method has a corn-based pad that is 100% compostable. That means that when I am done with it, I can pretty much throw it into the woods behind my place and it will disintegrate. Pretty cool, huh? The mop "solution" is actually a cleanser made from almond oil that smells amazing. You simply squirt it onto the floor and then mop it up. Presto! Chango! The floor is clean and shiny! It's clean enough -- and safe enough -- that little Sawyer could eat off of it when he comes to visit (don't worry, kiki. I won't do any experiments!). I'm pretty happy with the $24.99 that I spent on it.

Well, here goes another try at being studious. Wish me luck.

I'll need it.


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