Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Good friends who will lend you stuff...

31 May 2016: I was about 2/3 of the way done mowing my lawn today when the mower overheated and, even after over an hour, wouldn't start up again.

Having it partially done drives me crazy, as I've written about before. Jut like I did when the mower died on me last summer in a similar situation last summer, I texted my friend Anna and asked if I could borrow her mower. Luckily, her husband Josh was home and within 45 minutes, I picked it up, took it home, unloaded it, finished my yard, put the thing back in my car (no easy task, especially when the engine is HOT. Ouch!), took a quick shower, drove it back to Josh and Anna's, and made it to trivia basically on time. I was so pleased with myself I was practically pumping my fists in the air...

...which is pretty ridiculous, but also sums me up pretty darn well.

Anyway, Anna and Josh rock and I am lucky to have friends like them who don't mind lending me their stuff.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Eleanor & Park

30 May 2016: I spent several hours today re-reading Eleanor & Park, the third time I've had the pleasure of reading this lovely little book. We are covering it tomorrow and Wednesday in my summer class. What a book. What fun to get back to it again.

First cook-out of the year...

29 May 2016: It was pretty darn hot yesterday, but otherwise a pretty good day for the first cook-out of the season. I had some friends over, cooked some hot dogs (Nathan's, of course) and we played some games. Excellent!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

That little guy's growing up...

28 May 2016: I have written before about winning the neighbor lottery, so it was really lovely today to stop by a graduation party for Luke, my neighbor's youngest boy, who graduated from high school yesterday. He's a wonderful kid. Ever since I met him (in 2009!), he's struck me as having a 50 year-old's soul trapped inside him--one of those kids who always sounded like he was a trying to be a grown-up, but in a nice way. He's very sincere, very sweet, and just a decent person. He was the first new neighbor to greet me, too. Anyway, now he's off to WVU in the fall, and I am sure he will continue to do great things.

The Boy

27 May 2016: My friends (the newlyweds!) Hannah and Cory came over last night to have dinner and watch a movie. Before the wedding, when her stress was at its peak, Hannah said that once the wedding craziness was over, she was really looking forward to coming over, watching a stupid movie, and relaxing. So that's what we did. We watched The Boy, which is absolutely ridiculous and a lot of fun. It felt like six movies squeezed into one and we laughed our heads off. (I also jumped and screamed a time or two. Creepy dolls will do that to you.)

Friday, May 27, 2016

One week down...

26 May 2016: Thursday saw the end of the first week of my summer class--a successful week, I think. I am especially grateful for a wonderful group of students. Our discussions have been fascinating and fulfilling. I've learned a thing or two from them, which is one of the coolest things that can happen in teaching.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Hitting the "send" button again...

25 May 2016: Remember these posts? The ones that referred to the four projects I needed to get done between February 8 and June 1? Well, I just sent off the fourth and final project--about a week early, thank you very much.

Now onto something else...

Call the Midwife DVDs

24 May 2016: Allow me to gush again about how much I adore this show. I mean, I love it so much that I bought the Season 5 DVDs--and I haven't bought a season of DVDs in years, I think. But these are the original, unedited episodes (PBS cuts their episodes down) and the completist in me needed them. I watched three episodes yesterday. So lovely. So worth it.

Day One

23 May 2016: [A bit behind on posting because of computer difficulties at home. Sigh.]

Monday was the opening day of my summer class. This course wasn't my first choice, but just like last summer, it kind of had to be taught so that some of our graduate students (in the M.A.T. program) could graduate in time. So I took one for the team again, I guess (which does speak to my martyr-loving tendencies).

Seriously, though, it's been great so far. That first day flew by. I've got six great students and I have a feeling it will be a terrific summer session.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Talking with the bestie..

22 May 2016: Today's good thing is the conversation I just had with Jane. We hadn't talked in a while, so we were overdue for a good, long phone call. No one gets my sense of humor like she does--and that goes both ways. She's always good for the soul.

Wedding of the year...

21 May 2016: Two of my favorite people, Hannah and Cory, got married yesterday. It was a wonderful day.

The "Gnome Home" Meets the Undead

20 May 2016: Ever since I bought my house, I have affectionately referred to it as the "Gnome Home" because of its very steep roof. So I was delighted/amused by the Christmas gift I got from my brother and his family this year. Finally got to put them out on Friday, after I finished my spring garden clean-up and planting.

There six of them total. They are pretty tiny, which is better than being regular sized, I think. More likely to "sneak" up on you.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Feeling better...

19 May 2016: Honestly, the best thing about today is that I am feeling so much better than yesterday. Some kind of stomach something (vague, I know) made it hurt to even move. I had to feed a friend's cat (she is out of town) and just getting into and out of my car was rough. But today I am about 85% better. Got some chores done, did some gardening, ran some errands, did some writing. Excellent. (And no worries: I had a pre-scheduled and routine appointment with my doctor today who assured me that it sounds like it was just a virus or something I ate.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Patti Lupone and Lin-Manuel Miranda

18 May 2016: I've been a bit under the weather today and the cloudy day wasn't helping my mood. But you know what did? The clip below, of Patti Lupone singing while Lin-Manuel Miranda looks on with adoration. Amazing. (Found it here.)

New trivia folks...

17 May 2016: Lots of the regular trivia team was out of town this week, so we had to call in some reinforcements: a friend from the Biology Department (she's actually played with us once before), her husband, and the wife of a former student of mine who is just an awesome person. We didn't win, but we sure had fun.

Monday, May 16, 2016

"Man in Motion"

16 May 2016: Today's good thing is also another podcast recommendation. The always fun "Mark and Sarah Talk about Songs" podcast released a great episode about "Man in Motion," from St. Elmo's Fire. Like Mark and Joe in the podcast, I have some unabashed love for this song though I know I should be abashed (is that a word?). Give it a listen!

"You Belong to Me"

15 May 2016: This song ("You Belong to Me" sung by the Duprees) has been in my head a lot lately. It came on the iPod when I was driving back from NY yesterday and then again when I was hanging out with some friends--just as I pulled the "Algiers" city card in the game we were playing and the lyric "See the marketplace in old Algiers" came up. Anyway, it's a lovely song that always makes me happy.

Aidan's big day

14 May 2016: So proud of Aidan today as he celebrated his first communion at the church where I grew up.

Talking with my sister

13 May 2016: Traffic was just awful on Friday, as I drove up to NY with my sister and my niece. We were in the car almost nine hours. (The trip usually takes me about 6 hours.) But here's the silver lining: I got to have some great conversations with Erin. We don't get a ton of chances to do that, so I am grateful.

Pre-trip chill session

12 May 2016: [Doing some catch-up posts...] Thursday night found me preparing for a quick trip up to NY for my nephew's first communion. I can be a bit anxious before a trip, so it was awesome to spend the evening with some friiends. We played a game, had dinner, and just relaxed.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


11 May 2016: Still rainy here. Still. But while walking to a meeting this evening, I took a short-cut through my favorite spot on campus, the garden behind Knutti. And I walked by this lovely lilac bush. It always makes me happy when it blooms.

Veronica Mars anniversary

10 May 2016: Tuesday's good thing was this fun piece by Joe Reid at decider.com. Humblebrag here, but I was one of the few people who watched every episode of the first season of Veronica Mars as it aired and I was blown away by those episodes--and super frustrated by the "who's at the door?" cliffhanger. Yikes...that was ELEVEN years go. I was still living in Greensboro, getting ready to move to Richmond. I was terrified and sad about leaving the place I had called home for so long. TV was, as always, a welcome distraction.

Rainy day planting

9 May 2016: It is still raining every freakin' day here (Sunday was the only exception), but I finally got into some spring flower planting on Monday. It was extra muddy and I didn't make a ton of progress, but it still felt good to get started.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day

8 May 2016: Today's good thing is the very nice phone call I had with my mom today. Bonus good thing: being lucky enough to have a couple of lovely siblings up in NY who can spend the day my parents when I am too far away to do it.


7 May 2016: Graduation is always bittersweet, but it's always the "good thing" on the day it rolls around. This year a really exceptional group has graduated (but I think I say that every year?). I will miss a lot of these people.

From left to right: two amazing students, Emily and Nic; my colleague and good friend, Carrie; my work husband, Tim; and yours truly.

Impromptu plans...

6 May 2016: You know you have some good friends when you can throw together some simple yet plans for a low-key yet really fun night in about 10 minutes. Dinner at one of my favorite places in town and some board game action afterwards. It ain't crazy partying, but that's just fine with me.

Bonus good thing: once again, the rain broke long enough for me to get my walk in. It was pretty late--I didn't head out until 10:30 or so, but it was worth it. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Cuteness overload

5 May 2016: She still won't let me pet her, but when I find her sitting like this, looking at me, it's hard to hold anything against her.

Wedding music

4 May 2016: Today's "good thing" is one of those moments where I just realized how lucky I am to have good friends who I can be silly and random with. I was on campus yesterday for a workshop and when it was over, I sat in my office with three of my favorite people: Tim, Carrie, and Hannah. Hannah's wedding is in a couple of weeks, so our conversation drifted to wedding music and first dance songs. As I've made abundantly clear over time, I can't dance to save my life, but it was a fun conversation. Can't wait for the wedding!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

"No Acquitting for Taste"

3 May 2016: The post's title comes from the title of the Judge John Hodgman episode that I listened to on my walk today. I was feeling a bit under the weather again (hope my cold isn't coming back!) and kind of just wanted to go home and sleep, but this episode--funny, interesting, and sweet--made the walk really pleasant and even put me in a better mood to get some work done when I got home.

School's (sort of) out!

2 May 2016: Since we are in that weird period right now where there aren't "school nights" (until Summer School starts for me in a couple of weeks), some friends and I got together last night for dinner and a few games of Pandemic.

The weather has been crazy for the last week (cloudy and cold, then sunny and hot--all on the same day) and I've got enough work on my plate that I am more anxious than usual at the end of the semester. But looking at my watch last night, seeing that it was well almost 10:00, and realizing that I didn't have to get up for class the next morning gave me that first whiff of summer. Pretty sweet.

Sunday, May 1, 2016


1 May 2016: Every since I was a kid, I have been pretty good at finding money (mostly change) that people have dropped in parking lots and streets. Imagine my delight today when on my walk I came across a quarter and then a penny...and then another penny, and then a nickel...and then some more. You get the point.

Here's the end result:

That's $2.63 total, scattered on the sidewalk and in the grass. I have no idea how it got there, but it's fun to imagine how. 

I felt like I was on a mini treasure hunt. A few minutes of pure joy!

Break in the rain...

30 April 2016: It's been rainy here for days and yesterday (Saturday) was no exception. But I am grateful for about 90 minutes of a break in rain so I could get my walk in down by the C&O Canal. It was, as always, a good mental break.