March 30, 2009

School Spirit

Although neither of my degrees is emblazoned with Beaumont Tower, my loyalty to Michigan State runs deep. Especially when it comes to Spartan sports.

I may have not graduated from any of their Colleges, but I spent 3 amazing years as a student there. The friendships I made will have a lasting impression on my life and the study abroad trip I participated in...well, that was a life altering event to say the least.

Anyway...Spartan sports will always draw my attention. Much more so than any other professional team or event. It's hard to follow sometimes living in Idaho; games aren't considered local out here so they're not always broadcast on tv. But we make due.

Having MSU do so well in March Madness this year has peaked interest even more. Unfortunately, any games broadcast on CBS are blacked out for us due to contract negotiations with our satellite provider. So we've had to make due to watching them online.

It's hard for me to sit still and watch a game on the computer. So I usually turn it on for background noise and go about my business, stopping to watch for a minute here and there.

Yesterday's game was a fantastic one to watch. And was great motivation while cleaning!

March 28, 2009

Getting Out of the Rut

What is it about this time of year that always puts me in a funk?

Yet again, I've found myself in a major rut. Struggling to find the motivation to get to the gym; struggling to find the motivation to keep the house clean; struggling to find the motivation to make dinner.

I don't know if it's the weird weather. Some days it's 65 degrees and sunny. Two days later the wind is howling and the snow is falling.

Maybe I'm finally getting tired of winter and longing for spring. Ready to see the grass begin to green, the trees begin to bud and the flowers begin to bloom. I'm ready to get out and do some hiking. Put the boat in the river and do some fishing. And get my hands dirty in the flower beds and garden. To be able to sit on the back patio and feel the sun on my skin (don't worry Monkey, the sunscreen will come out as well).

Maybe I'm just ready to open the windows and get some fresh air into the house. Granted, that is accompanied by an avalanche of dust, intensified by the field behind our house and the ensuing ground work that will start in preparation for planting. And it causes the mounds of shed fur to bounce along the wood floors but I'll take it, dust and fur bunnies and all.

Hopefully the change in season will also bring about some new motivation and an accompanied change in my mood.

March 23, 2009

Taking After Her Momma

For the last 10 years, a great number of disagreements between C and I have arisen because he does something stupid and I laugh at his misfortune. I know I shouldn't but I just can't help it. He can be writhing in pain and through tears of laughter, I'm trying to stifle my giggles to ask him if he's alright. Not my best trait I admit, but he has on occasion admitted himself that he does his fair share of stupid stuff. Much of which warrants entertainment value for onlookers.

I think KT has inherited that really warped sense of humor. I don't know whether to be embarrassed or proud. For now, I'll enjoy having someone else who finds his misfortunes utterly hilarious.

KT and I were in her room tonight, rocking in the glider, reading our required pre-bedtime story. C opened the door, walked into the room and promptly tripped over the space heater, knocking it over and falling to his knees. Not just a little stumble where he quickly regained but his balance but a full-on, drop to the knees mishap.

Between the words of Goodnight Moon, the giggles began. First from me and after about 5 seconds I was accompanied by the sound of toddler laughs.

As C stood up, righted the space heater and tried to regain his composure and dignity, KT looked him square in the face and through her giggles, chortled, "good job, Dad".

I laughed so hard I cried.

March 20, 2009

Spring is in the Air?

The itch is beginning. The itch to get out and get dirty. To do some digging in the fragrant, wet soil of the flowerbeds and garden.

After last summer's success I've spent many a moment this winter dreaming of the additions I can make this year.

Lettuce? Almost definitely.

Garlic? Quite possibly.

Potatoes? Still debating.

Cucumber? Nope. Not after discovering my sans gallbladder system objects to raw cukes.

Squash? Not sure if there's enough space.

I've been dreaming of flowers too. A vast array of colors, blooms and fragrances filling in the bare spots along the fence. A mix of annuals and perennials in varying heights and structural shapes.

The snow still lingers along the fence in places. As the sun glances off of it today, the spring equinox, I hope the dreams will soon fade and be replaced by the familiar feel of dirt under my nails.

March 19, 2009

Seeing Double

Anyone following this blog through a reader, will see a post again this weekend that they happened upon last night or today.

It wasn't supposed to publish until this weekend but for some reason it did last night. I got it sorted out but it is scheduled to go again this weekend.

So when you see it again, don't think you're going crazy. Just me messing things up.

March 18, 2009

Is There a Doctor in the House?

The toddler tornado was given playdough as a Christmas present. My OCD tendencies hadn't allowed it in the house until then.

Yeah, I know. I'm a bad mom and I really need to let go of some of my quirks now that I have a child. Baby steps though, baby steps.

We pulled it out last week when Aunt A was here, to try to cut down on toddler tantrums and try to wean her from her television addiction. KT, not Aunt A! The first day we pulled out numerous colors and I about had a heart attack and she blended purple, pink and aqua. I fared much better on subsequent attempts when I only let her play with one color at a time.

I quickly discovered that playdough is not my forte. My sculpting talents are minimal and the smell is noxious. Thankfully my sister was here and has a much, much more prolific artistic ability than me.

Like so many other children, KT is fascinated with playdough. Smooshing it between her stubby fingers, throwing it across the kitchen and sticking it on her face. She especially enjoys destroying anything that I have made in an attempt to fulfill her requests. Every time we sit at the table to play with it we easily kill an hour.

Unfortunately, I discovered after 3 days of playdough fun, that it is apparently a HUGE trigger of my eczema. Huge.

So either I keep a stash of rubber gloves on hand to protect my hands in the future or I effectively hide all playdough containers during the day so I'm not expected to play.

I don't think a doctor's note would allow me to opt out of this activity, do you?

March 17, 2009

Long Road to Idaho

Last weekend prompted a multi-purpose trip down to Utah. On the agenda was taking my visiting sister back to the airport, hitting the Sportsman's Expo we used to frequent and catching up with friends.

After 48 hours of fast-food, toddler tantrums and beautiful weather, my mind wandered as we headed back north on Sunday. As I stared at the lackluster, late-winter mountainsides out the window I began to reflect on our time in Idaho and out West in general.

It's been almost 9 years since we packed up and left Wisconsin; almost 3 since we left Utah. Over that span of 103 months we've made our fair share of trips to visit people. There have been trips with purposes such as weddings, funerals, work and/or holidays. And there have been spur of the moment trips with no agenda other than just to visit. Some have been road trips, some by air; some have been quick trips and others more extended visits. I've lost track of the amount of times I've traveled although I'm sure that some could tell me exactly how many times I've come to visit them on my jaunts through their neck of the woods.

Instead of reflecting on the great trips we've made, and the awesome times we've had when people visit us, I got hung up on what hasn't happened. The trips that haven't been made.

It makes me sad to think that none of our friends from the 6 years we spent in Utah have come to visit us since we left. Everyone always says that we should make plans and we constantly remind them that they're welcome to visit anytime but the offer is never taken up. Phone calls or face to face conversations always mention how long it's been and how the next visit should occur over a shorter span of time.

I know that lives are busy and schedules/finances can be tight but it certainly makes me feel like no one misses us. That we're not worth a weekend trip to come visit. I guess you're never too old for insecurities to pop up.

I know too that we were the ones to make the decisions to move. That it was our choice to pick up and put ourselves so far away from friends and family. For that reason, we do feel that it is our obligation to head to Michigan for holidays, weddings and spur of the moment trips when finances and vacation time permits.

It certainly would be nice though to feel like we were important to others. That the relationships we have (or did have) warrant a trip now and then.

March 9, 2009

In Disbelief

We made it -- with under 3 minutes to go before the deadline. I honestly didn't believe it was going to happen. The girl who did the submission said she's never had one go in so smoothly (once they were ready to submit it). I guess after everything else, we were due for something to go correctly.

I still can't believe we managed to actually get it in.

Living by the Title

I'm faced time and time again with the fact that I am NOT a patient person. I do not handle it well when I have to wait on things that are out of my control.

One of the subcontracting agencies has their paperwork completed and has issued a letter of support. The one that didn't get their paperwork in until Friday -- they're the one we're waiting on.

I called one of the collaborators 30 minutes ago and he was checking on the status. We have about 150 minutes until it's due.

My stomach is starting to churn. I need to walk away from the computer and find something to occupy my time.

March 6, 2009

Grasping at Straws

I discovered late this afternoon (Thursday that is, I have yet to go to bed) that one of the subcontracting agencies has NOT turned in the necessary paperwork to their research office. Without a letter of approval from them, our research office will not submit the grant.

We have less than 2 business days to get all of the appropriate department and college signatures and then hope our little hearts out that their research office will turn it over quickly and process a letter of support. It needs to be done insanely quickly. Someone said they are owed a favor. I'm not sure if they're owed that big or not.

If you're the betting kind, I'd say the odds are highly stacked against me right now.

I'm about to see 120 hours of work, crammed into 10 days, go right down the toilet.

I can't even begin to describe how nauseous this makes me.

March 4, 2009

Just Short of Empty

The grant application package got submitted to the campus research office yesterday. Now they look it over and after approval, officially submit it to the USDA. Then we wait for an answer and hope for funding.

I'm tired. Exhausted might be a better descriptor, but I doubt that really covers it fully. Working 80+ hour weeks and getting 2-3 hours a sleep at night does not agree with me anymore. This was much easier before.

On top of the grant application's pending submission, I have a manuscript that is due on Friday. It's about 50% done already but I need to finish writing it and get revisions by the other cooperators. My guess is that it won't make Friday's deadline. I could probably get it written by the deadline but I certainly can't get revisions turned around that quickly.

Finding the motivation to work on the manuscript is the first obstacle. I think I've already drained the tank.

1 out of 2 ain't bad though. Right?