Wednesday, July 29, 2009


That's what my sister Elizabeth called me today. And apart from the "panda" which I don't really understand, she's quite right.

Yesterday, I went for a physical so I could substitute teach and they talked me into having the new tetnus injection, which has a progestin booster, because apparently progestin is fatal to children. So, my left arm is largely useless for anything other than typing and knitting. And my toe still hurts any time I move or adjust it. It feels like any motion I make elicits an "ow."

I hope this doesn't last long. I feel old.

I'm trying not to get too excited, but...


I think I failed.

Monday, July 27, 2009

What's new...

...practically nothing, which is why I haven't updated the blog in so long.

I still haven't found a job yet, but I'm about to widen my search to encompass the Eastern Seaboard, since there seem to be many more reporting jobs out that way.

I recently took a skills test for positions at Northern Illinois University and didn't do nearly as well as I was hoping, but I have another test soon and will probably end up retaking the first one in a few weeks.

I received a rejection e-mail from an agent who was looking at my book and said she had been intrigued so far. I guess it turns out, not so much.

Saturday I went to a really fun birthday party, which consisted of sitting around at Barnes and Noble, flipping through magazines, eating and chatting with friends. It was great. When I got home, I broke my toe.

But I've also learned how to cable knit, and I'm making my way through the entire John Wayne film collection at a fairly good clip these days, which is probably a bad sign.

I have a doctor's appointment to get a physical so I can substitute teach tomorrow, so hopefully that goes well.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I learned a lot this past week. As Alicia and I traveled through the museums and around the monuments of our nation's capital I learned about the men and women who have worked to make this country what it is. As we strolled through the downtown and surrounding neighborhoods in Maryland's capital, I learned I could live very happily there.

I learned Richmond has got to be one of the worst cities to try to drive in. I also learned how to drive from Northern Virginia to Philadelphia with a minimum of nervous breakdowns along the way and that I am glad I don't drive a Prius.

However, I think my biggest lessons were about someone I already thought I knew well.

When we were growing up, my brother and I went through a period of strife, which I'm sure is common to all siblings who are just over 18 months apart. For a while our daily communications consisted of shouting angrily or not speaking at all. The problem is, this stage of life lasted for quite a while and then we both moved away and didn't really communicate at all. I didn't really notice when we came out the other side of this stage and could stand to be in the same room as each other and even went to events together.

The problem always was that we were teenagers at the same time and while I was stubborn and mean, Nate was slightly arrogant and cocky, like most teenage boys. Well, I grew up and I gave myself credit for it. While I can still be stubborn on a regular basis. I like to give myself credit for no longer being mean for the sake of being mean.

I didn't give Nate the same credit. I didn't notice when he stopped being arrogant and cocky. But this past week, as I spent time with his wife in their house and listened to her talk about his friends and their friends and their life in Virginia, I often found myself thinking "Who is this person she's talking about? I hardly even know him anymore."

But the fact is, looking back on it, everything she's said and everything I've noticed is true. He said without hesitation that I could take his car, his Prius from their house to Philly and back. I used his phone while I was there, fairly secure in the knowledge that he would have been okay with it. I remember when the papal election was over in 2005, I was in Macomb at college, and Nate was in Pennsylvania at graduate school and we watched the announcement together instant messaging. We were both mesmerized.

I find the older I get, the more similar to him I become and I'm okay with that. I just feel like I have a lot more to learn.

Monday, July 13, 2009


How many people have ever seen a platypus? At the zoo, in the wild, whatever. We went to the Museum of Natural History when I was out visiting my sister-in-law this past week and the museum has an exhibit of stuffed animals. I realized, as I crouched down to look into the little window behind which they had a stuffed platypus, that I had never seen one before.

This is truly God's strangest creature. But really, how often do we think about it? We don't see it in the wild, so it doesn't really enter into our consciousness. I don't think I've ever even seen one in the zoo.

I think I was more excited about the platypus than almost anything else I saw.

New Experiences

This past week has been filled with new experiences. On Friday July 3, I left Midway Airport bound for Dulles in Washington DC. I was to stay with my sister-in-law in Virginia until the 9th, then drive my brother's car to Philadelphia to be in a wedding for a good friend on the 10th, then drive back to Virginia after the wedding and fly out the next day.

The newness began almost immediately. My flight from Midway had a layover of about 3 hours in Atlanta. It is the first time I've ever had a layover on a flight and the first time I'd ever been to that airport. Leaving from Atlanta, I sat on the plane next to a very nice woman and we chatted the entire way to DC.

I have never been to our nation's capital, I have never been out to the east coast, so this was going to be interesting. On the Monday after I arrived, Alicia and I went to Arlington National Cemetery and Washington and saw the Washington Monument, the Vietnam Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of American History.

Tuesday we went to Annapolis, Maryland, where Nate and Alicia used to live. I fell completely in love with Annapolis. Right on the Chesapeake Bay with fresh seafood, historic colonial neighborhoods, and a great downtown area. It was amazing. I could easily...easily live there.

On Wednesday we traveled to Richmond, which is about an hour and 30 minutes south of Nate and Alicia's place. We saw the Confederate White House, the Museum of the Confederacy, and the Richmond Raceway. (Alicia likes Nascar).

Allie's wedding was great and the parts of Philadelphia that I saw between rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, bridesmaid breakfast, and the wedding were nice.

I had a great time hanging out with Alicia and traveling around.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


This whole house is in pretty rough shape. The last tenants didn't take good care of it at all and then it sat empty for a little while after they were evicted.

The worst room is what Nathan calls the music room, because when the two ladies who initially owned the house lived here, they kept a baby grand piano in it. I call it the sun room because we do not own a piano and even if we did my music skills are such that I would hardly know what to do with it.It's kind of hard to see the purple splotches on the wall. I think they were paint balls and Nathan thinks they were some form of grape juice projectile. Anyway, we decided to start painting...and for obvious reasons, we started in this room. It took two coats of primer and several coats of "stain killer" to eradicate these stupid little spots.

I think it turned out rather well. We also didn't have enough furniture for this room, so two weekends ago, Pam and my sister-in-law Janelle, and her husband, and I all went garage saling. I bought a new couch, two chairs, and a coffee table, and a bunch of other little things, all without breaking $100. Yay garage sales!

That isn't to say the room was ready right away. Our living room looked like a gypsy bazaar for about a week.

But, finally, using my wonderful garage sale finds (cat with glowing eyes not included) and some things I acquired from my grandmother's house, we got the room decorated and functional. I just have a few things to hang up. I think it already looks pretty good.

I was, of course, the first person to use it.Special thanks to Pam and Craig for letting us paint. Also, big thanks to Mom, Dad, and Anne for helping!