Welcome back

>> 11.02.2010

Welcome back to me, that is. Where have I been?

Well, I drove a golf cart.

Then I sat on a beach in Paradise.

End of blog, right? I found the beach and golf cart I'd been seeking.

Sorry. You can't get rid of me that easily.

I'll offer a list of possible reasons for my nine-month disappearance in the form of True/False statements.

1. I took a sabbatical to research the microbrewing industry in the Maldives.

False. I'm a staff member at a college, not faculty. No sabbatical for me.

2. Nine months? Just gave birth to triplets. Have my hands full.

False! God's sense of humor hasn't gone there.

3. Helped nurse a 10-year-old, DOS-based scoreboard through its last season at my part-time seasonal gig.


4. Rediscovered my library. Abandoned computers.

Partially true. I did enjoy all 560 pages of The Lost Girls, plus a few other books.

5. Took on the job description of a departed coworker. With responsibility for a college's websites, social media, and blogs, the last thing I wanted to do was blog for myself.

Pretty much true.

6. Road construction prevented me from leaving my house all summer.

False. It did make for an interesting five months as our 40-year-old water mains and curbs were replaced. When will they tear up our road? When will they remove our mailboxes? What goo will they unearth with the water mains? Will flooding rains wash away the gravel? When will they pour curbs so we can't we park in our driveway for six days? It all ended yesterday, with me making a quick escape mere feet in front of the dump truck containing the final coat of asphalt. Now we have a beautifully smooth road. Just in time for the snowplows.

7. I hit a milestone birthday and decided to pursue a career in surfing.

False. We'll save that one for 2011.

I read in an article that you shouldn't say, "I don't have time." You really mean, "It's not a priority."

While this blog should have been a priority (for my own sanity, if nothing else), you can only have so many priorities in 24 hours, and this didn't fit. Work, family, and random weekend trips to Minnesota, Michigan, and around Badgerland took precedence.


But I did come back.



>> 2.27.2010

February. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Say it again.

It's not my favorite month, mainly due to my being done with winter at this point, and this year it's been the longest month e-v-e-r. Thank goodness it doesn't have more days, like 30.

I'm not the only one who thinks so. Samantha Bee eloquently stated her distaste for our calendar's second month in this morning's Wall Street Journal. I already had this post written in my head, and reading her article reinforced my need to get it off my chest.

I'm carb-loading this month, as shown by the results of a recent trip to the store. The child is no longer amused by the ever-growing snow piles that line the driveway. She has outgrown her winter clothes by this point, and of course the spring lines have appeared in every store, though we can't really switch to our warm-weather wardrobes until about May in these parts. The car is coated in salt. The shovel is broken, and again, only lawn mowers are available at the hardware store. My skin is dried out; even makeup can't give my face any color. My only "escape" from the cold has been to places like this: indoor gardens under a big glass dome. Woo-hoo.

On that note, I'll leave you with my one positive from February (which comes from a negative of course).

Here are flowers I received. Not for Valentine's Day, you silly person. That is not celebrated in this household. No, they're from my mother-in-law, who felt badly that I had to take not one but two trips to the airport in a one-hour period because someone she gave birth to forgot something at her house.

At least the stargazer lilies make my kitchen smell like my wedding bouquet. The wedding was in August, when it's warm. The reception was by a lake. Which has a beach.


Best food I've ever eaten

I'm watching a show on a channel that talks about food a lot (and I don't mean the Travel Channel). People famous for cooking on television shows discuss the best foods they've ever eaten, in various categories.

Someone just was discussing the best cupcakes he's ever eaten. They were from New York City I believe, not Oklahoma City (from whence these originated).

Now these OKC cupcakes were good and are well-known in the area. But I wouldn't make a special trip or go on television to discuss them. And the more I thought about it, I couldn't come up with any must-have, must-go-eat-it-again restaurant dish.

I had a lobster roll in Maine once that was really good, from a dive I read about in my AAA book. But I think the fact that I ate it oceanside (basically, on a rocky beach) mainly contributed to it being memorable.

I'm not sure if it's sad that I can't remember eating anything "that good," or if it's a positive thing that my travel memories are not based on eating out, or on any particular food for that matter.


Only 90 days?

>> 2.09.2010

This has been the longest 90 days ever. It doesn't help that it's the middle of winter and my office is the warmest place I've been (nary a beach in sight).

So my grandfather passed away 90 days ago. Then we rolled into the holiday season with my father-in-law moving regularly between the hospital and nursing home. The child had a birthday that inconveniently fell on Thanksgiving this year, and it bascially got lost in all the other madness from in-laws visiting town and the patriarch being not at the turkey table for the first time ever.

Then we canceled our annual hosting of Christmas Eve dinner to spend time with the father-in-law (since no one was in town for Christmas). It was a quiet, simple Christmas, I'll give you that. There was the ill-fated attempt to spring him from the nursing home one last time, in a cold Christmas Day rain. He ended up with a tour of the city in the car, and it confused and agitated him more than anything else.

And though my father-in-law had no idea what time of year it was anymore, he somehow waited to pass away at the most convenient time possible: the week after the holiday travel season ended, and the week before the college kids resumed classes. That enabled the ENTIRE immediate family (I'm counting 36 people in the group photo) to come to town for the funeral. We're the only ones living in town, near my mother-in-law.

The winter lengthened as we coordinated the travel schedules for about three dozen people, all the while planning a funeral for a well-known man in the community. My grandfather's funeral was simple. This one (because of the number of people involved from the family and his firm and his church) ended up being like planning a wedding in a week.

Sorry if the comparison offends, but think about it: We communicated with about 200 people to invite them to the service, planned the service, then I designed the program and had it printed. Flowers were coordinated. Group hotel rates were obtained. We had a country-club reception for 100 people, complete with open bar. Every combination of family photo was taken. We compiled digital slide shows and a video. We got haircuts. We had a rehearsal dinner (literally) in which the family took over an entire restaurant.

And you wonder why I didn't blog in January? It took us a month to not be tired anymore, and I'm not even discussing the grieving process (too busy to stop and think).

At the end of January we burned some frequent flier miles and headed to Dallas. The child and I were flying south! (The husband had to work.) We'd escape winter and visit my sister for her birthday! Ha!

We were supposed to drive to Oklahoma City after a day in Dallas. Well, make that two days in Dallas. During a big ice storm in Oklahoma. The greater Dallas/Fort Worth area was a cloudy and windy 32 degrees.

The Bureau of Printing and Engraving is lovely this time of year. Standing on the grassy knoll is not. The child was confused by blooming flowers in the ground and the snowflakes in the air.

We made it to OKC, learning first-hand what the traffic people mean when they say bridges and overpasses ice before roadways. We spent a few days on ice, literally. With family, mind you, but still on ice.

Saw the tourist attractions covered in snow, which apparently is a novel concept for people who don't own shovels or plows.

I'm ready for winter to end (for more reasons than the weather). I think many others are too, except maybe this guy.


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