Sunday, November 30, 2008

I made it!

Hal and I have returned to B-town after a very packed weekend full of family and fun.

I am excited that I have indeed posted every day of November (except, I think, the first day, when I didn't know NaBloPoMo existed). Doing the daily blog thing actually wasn't all that stressful and at times was even a very nice release. So perhaps I will continue to post more often than before this challenge, although I won't promise daily posts.

I really should write a nice story for this last post of official NaBloPoMo (although I suppose mine shouldn't end until tomorrow because of missing Day 1). However, I have spent the last several hours working on a presentation I'm giving tomorrow in my Sex in the News class, so I'm going to refrain from waxing poetic here.

In all, though, I'm happy I undertook the challenge. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to finish it. I'm even excited about some of the things I've written. And yes, there were some real "dogs" (as my dad would say) in the posts (dogs = bad/not quality something, in this case posts. In a sentence: In terms of talent, the UK basketball team has some real dogs).

In fact, this is one of those dogs.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I'm going to have to swim 12,000 miles next week.

We've eaten ourselves around the globe this weekend. Chinese, American, German, Italian.

I've eaten with abandon. Eaten much more than I should. Eaten seconds. Eaten desserts. Chowed down on Oyster Stuffing! at Thanksgiving. Nibbled on some cold pizza after eating dinner tonight. Feasted on my weight in beer cheese at the Hofbrauhaus. Smacked my lips after the egg roll and a crab rangoon the other night. Lots. Of. Food.

And you know what?

I don't feel guilty about it at all.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

Four years ago, my brother Stephen decided that he desperately needed a TV on special from Best Buy on Black Friday.

He declared his intent to my parents -- he was going to gather some friends and spend the night outside of Best Buy to get that TV.

My parents thought this was hilarious. Stephen exuberantly told them to go through the ads and pick out what they wanted him to pick up for them. They thought the whole thing was so funny that they went through and circled a bunch of stuff, knowing that he wouldn't get any of it. Best Buy is, after all, one of the crazy and crowded places on Black Friday

Stephen left before midnight, braved the cold and the dark. During the night, the rest of the family exchanged sly smiles. Stephen was so excited and he was going to get there, spend all that time, and not get anything. He had no idea how crowded it was going to be.

He got back around 6:45 and burst into the house.

He woke Mom and Dad up by opening the garage door. I woke up too, and walked out into the hallway that overlooks my parents' living room. He stood there, smiling ear to ear, thrilled.

"I GOT EVERYTHING!!!!!!" he yelled up at us.

And he did. A TV. Several digital cameras. Movies. Photoshop Elements. And several other things.

My parents learned a lesson tonight. They knew not to load up a list of things for Stephen to get the next year, on the very real possibility that he would get it all.

Stephen has gone every year since that first year. Last year, he and his friends (and Hal) added a fire pit and corn hole (a bean bag toss game) to their arsenal for passing the hours. The police thought this was a good idea. This year, although it was much warmer, several other people had followed their lead.

I suppose my little brother is the most hard-core shopper in the family.

At least when it comes to electronics.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Treasure Hunt

The last year, I sat at the kitchen table, brow furrowed, laughing hysterically. I stared at the slip of paper in front of me, the letters not moving, no matter how I manipulated them, into a word that even existed. I was always the worst at word scrambles. My siblings and parents crowded around me in the kitchen, clutching their new prizes, making fun of me.

We had a Thanksgiving tradition.

Started by my grandfather, my father carried this tradition along.

Every Thanksgiving, after getting home from eating our weight at my grandmother's house, my family would assemble for the Thanksgiving day treasure hunt. Dad and Mom would work up about four or five clues for each of us and leave them throughout the house. The answer to the first clue would have the second clue and so on. At the end of the treasure hunt, we each had a prize. Books, movies, stuff like that. Just a fun activity to make Thanksgiving more special and to create memories for my family.

When we were little, we started out with clues drawn on little pieces of paper. It might be a picture of the TV or the microwave, for example. Sometimes these were difficult, as my parents were not always the best artists in the world.

As we got older, these drawn clues turned into little written riddles or poems. Sometimes Dad would throw an indecipherable riddle in where the clue was really an acrostic -- the first letter of every line spelled the answer. The clues were difficult.

As we grew even older, we helped out by writing three or four clues, which would be used for our siblings' treasure hunt. As you can imagine, we would try to make these as hard as possible so our sibling would take longer to find their prize than we would to find ours. This also took the burden of creating 16-20 clues off my parents.

My brother Donnie hated writing the clues and we spent many Thanksgivings cajoling him to write. Oftentimes my parents would send us back to the drawing board when a clue was totally ridiculous or impossible to decipher. When time to hide the clues would come the four of us would retire to one of our bedrooms and sit, fidgeting with excitement, as we heard doors open and close downstairs as Mom and Dad would hide the clues.

Of course, the one who would be looking the longest always got teased.

That last year, it was me. Dad, in order to not have to write clever riddles, threw down some word scrambles. I don't think he knew how terrible I was at word scrambles. We laughed and laughed.

Although we're too old (ha! I think we did it up until the year I was married) for the treasure hunt now, it's always mentioned on Thanksgiving. It's one of those things that we'll remember forever. And probably pass along to our children.

Just another thing to be thankful for.

I'm lucky. I have a lot of things like that.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fortune cookies

Hal and I are at my parents' house. I'm snug as a bug and we're all watching West Side Story on TCM. Layla is wandering around licking peoples' hands as well as the kitchen floor.

Tonight we ate at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants. The people there know us as someone in my family is usually at one of their two locations once a week. They are always kind to us.

One of our games we play there is a guessing game. On their fortunes from the fortune cookies, they list a Chinese word and the English translation. We pronounce the Chinese word and then we all have to guess what the English translation is.

I think there was one time where we got this right, and my sister and I both screamed with excitement and then dissolved into laughter.

But most of the time, we never get it right. Tonight was no exception, as Jennie's Chinese word for "sun" inspired such guesses as kite string and shoe lace. (My guess was kite string and I was considered the winner because it was the closest to sun -- I guess because a kite string gets the closest to the sun out of the guesses we had.)

We're ridiculous, but it's fun.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


One of Hal's friends had an oral exam in his French class today. When Hal told me about it, I had a flashback.

I took French for two years in college. We had to take a language at the college level for two years (4 semesters) in certain colleges. I decided to take French because it "sounded pretty." I was sick of Latin, which I took for 3 years in high school (even though I was told I could start in second year Latin), and my mom told me not to take Russian because I should stick with the same alphabet.

I was terrible at French. Well, I was okay at the reading part, but terrible at the speaking part.

I had flubbed up other assignments for my beloved teacher, who I had for three out of my four semesters. A memorable assignment was a first semester in-class essay letter to Santa during which I lost all French nouns except the words for Chicken and Ham. "Dear Santa -- I want chicken for Christmas. I love chicken. I hate ham. My mom always makes ham. She makes a lot of ham. She never makes chicken. But I love chicken. Please give me chicken. I like it more than ham. I want Mom to make chicken. She doesn't like chicken. (and so on)

I signed the essay by saying "Thank you." But I spelled it wrong. Instead of Merci, I wrote "Mercy," which was probably a subconscious way of pleading with my beloved teaching for a decent grade.

And then we had the oral exam. The oral exam was much scarier than the in-class Santa debacle of 2000. I think this was sometime in my second semester.

During this oral exam, we had to read a passage in French and then answer questions about the passage and also about ourselves. In French, of course, because that was the point. I was nervous and shaky. I didn't speak very well.

I went in to my exam and read the passage. I sat facing my beloved teacher and her friend who was co-grading the exam. It started out okay.

Then they threw me a doozie.

They asked me in French, "Where do you work?"

I thought for a moment and replied, "I work in a bank." I did not, in fact, work in a bank, but we did not have to be truthful and I remembered the word for bank.

My professor and her assistant looked at each other.

They asked me again, in French, "Where --- do --- you --- work?"

I responded slowly, "I. Work. In. A. Bank."

My beloved teacher shook her head (or perhaps I just imagined this), and they went on to another question.

After the exam, I understood my mistake.

They didn't ask me where I worked after all. It wasn't my diction that confounded them, it was my answer.

They had asked me what country I would like to visit.


Monday, November 24, 2008


Do dogs hibernate?

For the past couple of days, ever since the weather switched from still warm and fall-like to winterish, Layla has been a huge lazy dog. She curls up on her pillow in the living room, or if I have the heater on upstairs, she will curl up on her pillow up there. She'll still play hard with us, but for the most part she is lounging around. For example, right now she and Hal are on the couch sharing a blanket, both taking a little snooze.

She's eating and drinking normally and she looks and feels the same, so we don't think she's sick. She barked at someone in the neighborhood today just like normal. She's just being a lump! She's letting the weather calm her into a ball of warm sloth. Just like her parents.

I think she's becoming an "adult." She's nearly three and so she's exiting the high-energy pup stage and moving into the more relaxed adult stage.

In any case, she's awfully cute.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Right in the Tiara

In honor of the high school play this weekend, which I was so sad I didn't get home to see, I decided to recount a moment from one of my high school plays that always makes me chuckle when I think about it.

When I was a senior we did the play The Curious Savage, which was about a woman who was committed by her children when she was reluctant to inform them what her monetary decisions were going to be after she died. (She was sitting on a boatload of money and the kids didn't know where it was and were greedy little things and wanted it.) The play was set in the mental institution in which the children placed Mrs. Savage.

In this play I played a woman in the institution. Her name was Fairy May and she wanted nothing more than to be loved and be beautiful. I got to wear outlandish outfits and be needy and lovable. I loved playing Fairy.

There was a scene in the play where Mrs. Savage finds her daughter's picture in the newspaper. Her daughter, Lily, marries serially and Mrs. Savage finds this distasteful. In the picture in the paper Lily is even wearing a tiara, although she is not royalty. So much so that she rips Lily's picture out of the paper, tacks it on the dartboard, and throws a dart at it, hitting Lily "Right in the tiara!" The rest of us applauded her efforts.

Obviously, we didn't have newspaper paper with "Lily's" picture on it. So Mary, who played Mrs. Savage, would pull out whatever picture was in the newspaper on stage and use that to throw the dart at it. The dartboard was at the back of the stage so no one in the audience could see the picture anyway.

Well, one night the picture Mary pulled out was of some male basketball player dunking on the basket.

Mary, like normal, ripped out the picture and tacked it to the dartboard. She stepped back and threw the dart at the picture.

And hit the player in a more delicate place than the tiara. (Oh, the jokes I could make about family jewels!)

Even though the audience couldn't see what was going on on stage, there were five of us up there who were high schoolers and understandably found what just transpired hilarious. None of us broke out in wild laughter, and Mary took a deep breath and delivered her line with much glee.

"Right in the tiara!" she exclaimed.

And we all clapped.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Hal and I went to Greenwood today to check out the going out of business sales at Linens and Things.

When we got there, we were hungry because we didn't eat lunch on the way up there.

As we were driving down the road, we spotted a familiar sign.

"SKYLINE!!!!" we both yelled.

This is the closest Skyline to us in Bloomington, at about an hour away. We had a good snack and went on to our shopping excursion. We're so excited we were able to have real Skyline and not just stuff out of the can!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Dragon is Injured

My siblings and I all drove a 1997 Corrolla throughout high school and into college. It's a great little car, and because it's metallic green, I took to calling it the Dragon Wagon. Jennie calls it the Green Beauty.

Over the years, it's had several injuries. There was the time I hit the mailbox, the time Donnie hit the garage, the time Donnie got rear-ended, the time Donnie dropped a penny into the steering wheel and the car would honk every time he turned, the time the sunroof stopped working in a wide-open position, the time Jennie got rear-ended, the time I rear-ended someone (with no damage to either car), the time I got a flat tire on 18 in the snow, and every time we parallel-parked it at UK there was reason for worry. It has seen 2 speeding tickets and one or two pull-over with no tickets. (There are no stories about Stephen because he mostly drove trucks. Which he wrecked, and his roommates also wrecked -- a story that will go down in family lore, but I won't recount here in order to preserve my dad's blood pressure.)

But today the dragon was injured by an outside force.

Someone threw a rock through the passenger window.

My sister, who drives the car now, calls the rock a boulder. The last time I talked to her, she was waiting for the police to call her back so she could make a report over the phone (?).

In any regard, there is glass everywhere and the window is broken into a million pieces. The rock is in the back seat on the floor. We can't figure out how it got there.

As of this afternoon, there didn't seem to be anything stolen (although she hadn't checked the glove compartment or the trunk). She actually hadn't been in the car, as she was afraid of getting cut by the glass. Stephen was on his way over to tape some plastic over the window, although he worried that he shouldn't be around should insurance agents show up and start twitching at the sight of him with glee and anticipation of many more dollar signs.

Poor Dragon. And poor Jennie, who was very upset at the vandalism. Her car was between her roommates' cars, and neither one of their cars were injured. We're hoping that it was a stupid drunk prank or that someone was so jealous of the Green Beauty's beauty that they couldn't stand it, but it's never fun to feel a little less safe in your own driveway.

Even so, we have great hopes that the Dragon will come through this. But it's an old car, and it's seen a lot of tomfoolery already.

We'll keep our fingers crossed for it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kicked out of the pool

I went up to the pool tonight to get in an extra workout. My team went bowling rather than practice tonight but I met with one of the other swimmers so we could have an extra practice.

The pool was mobbed. IU is having a swimming invitational this weekend and apparently several of the teams were already practicing. The teams were supposed to be practicing at one end of the pool.

I've never seen so many collegiate swimmers in one place. I wanted to walk up to some of the boys and poke my finger into the grooves that accentuated their abs, introduce myself to some of the girls by pointing at my stomach and saying, "Hi, very fit person. This is called body fat." I also wanted to ask some of their coaches for the muscle rubs they were constantly giving to their swimmers.

As we swam, these teams started creeping over into the section of the pool set aside for Rec Swim. For awhile, my friend and I swam in our lane unchallenged. Perhaps because I am so slow.

But then, swimmers from the University of Cincinnati, a good 4 or 5 of them, hopped into our lane and proceeded to kick us out.

No, they didn't tell us we needed to get out. They didn't have to. If I swam a fast 25, I barely got to the wall before their warm up swim speed. It just wasn't working, and they weren't going anywhere, unfortunately. And they weren't even supposed to be in that lane!

Annoyed, my friend and I got out of our lane. We headed down to the diving well, which had a large portion that was only being used by a young woman water jogging. She nicely allowed us to join her in the pool.

Now, the diving well is much warmer than the regular pool, apparently to be easier on the divers' joints. It also was choppy water because the divers were all practicing. It was like swimming in a dark, hot ocean. We had no lane lines; the water was dark and hard to see through. But we hung in there for a short workout.

And after our overall short workout, we wrote out a comment card explaining our annoyance that someone wasn't monitoring the lane situation.

I guess 1000 meters is better than 0.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


DailyNewsie wrote a post yesterday about her new red-headedness, and it made me think about the first time I dyed my hair.

The first time I REALLY dyed my hair, not just used Sun In, I decided a red highlight was in order.

I had graduated from high school a month or so before and my parents just left for a cruise to celebrate their 20th anniversary. I had cleared a small gathering with them before they left; one of the girls in my group of friends (actually, my Locker Partner) was getting ready to have ACL reconstruction and we wanted to hang out together before her surgery.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Parents out of the country, a small gathering approved, all sorts of shenanigans are about to break lose. However, we were not like that. I had my group of 8-10 friends over and that was that. No drinking, no shenanigans.

Except for the hair.

My friend Megan and I decided that we would take this opportunity to highlight my hair. I also approved this with my parents (gosh, I was a goody goody, wasn't I?). We knew we wanted to go red, and I figured that highlights would be a good place to start because it isn't too dramatic.

We picked out some dye at the local Meier. I have no idea why we went there, as there are several hair-dye-selling places closer than it. We picked up some cool red highlights, went back to my house, and got to work. Excitedly we finished and sat back to admire the results.

It was pink.

My hair was tiger-striped a reddish-pink color.

In looking at the box, we realized we bought hair dye for Asian hair. Which is black. My hair was blonder than my hair is now, a dirty blond that is definitely not anywhere near Asian hair.

So, per the directions, we bleached it first and then dyed it, resulting in the reddish-pink color.

And in all honestly, it was pretty awesome.

But I was a little nervous about my parents' reaction. A couple of days after the party, I went to the local pool for my siblings' swim meet. My grandmother said, "It's not that bad."

I reported this to my parents through email hoping to allay any hair dying fears they might be having while they were laying on the beach. This reaction caused my mom to worry.

Luckily, I spent a lot of time out in the sun during that week and by the time they got home, the red had faded so much it was hardly there. This ended my first experience with hair dye, but set off a four-year love affair with the stuff that mostly ended when my husband to be said to me, "Are you ever going to let me see what your real hair color is?" Within this time period I saw several highlight jobs as well as a couple of total dyes, one that my cousin gave that was supposed to be light auburn, but resulted in me being a true redhead. Assuming the girl from Run Lola Run is a true redhead. (In truth, that hair rocked my face off, I should definitely post pictures of that one day.)

Today my hair is what has turned into its natural color. The nice blond of my youth has faded into a color that much resembles, well, nothing. My old roommate calls it, "Northern Kentucky Color" (she's not from the NKY). I often feel the itch to do something to it again. Perhaps one day I will.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Crunch Time

It's getting down to that time in the semester.

Crunch time.

With Thanksgiving so late this year, it seems that everything has already started -- the papers, the exams.

Some of my friends are coming to swimming practice for the stress relief. I missed practice all last week because of work I was doing. I'm getting emails from students that imply wild-eyed crashing across keyboards, procrastination snickering in the corner.

I'm working on two projects currently -- my thesis an my project for my Sex in the News class. I have less work of my own to do than many other people because of my dearth of classes. The work I have, however, is pretty in depth. I'm sprinting through about 700 new pages of newspaper articles for my thesis, not counting the amount I read in the spring. My SITN project is a less intense in terms of data analysis, but I'm attempting a different methodology and it has me nervous.

I also have 165 papers coming in tomorrow to grade. Luckily, I will have those over Thanksgiving and will be able to finish them then.

Other than that craziness, life is pretty good. I swam tonight and was able to do the entire workout without taking a break and gasping into the gutter while my group mates continued swimming. Considering I missed a week of practice, I'm pretty pleased with this development.

We are also progressing in terms of a rental property for next year. I'm hoping to have news on that front by the end of the month. We have a property we have our eyes on and we're hoping we get it. Right now it's a wait and see game.

And, of course, I'm looking forward to spending time with my family for Thanksgiving!

More tomorrow. This post is kind of sucky, I know. But that's par for the course with NaBloPoMo. :) I'll try to do better tomorrow!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Money issues

My mom is in Vegas this week. Although she earned $130 today on a slot machine, I have bested her without even trying.

I'm working an hourly job doing some research for one of my professors.

Today she emailed me with a question about my time sheet.

Our timekeeping system has been rolled over this semester to an online system. Apparently my particular computerized time sheet has been having several problems. Case in point -- I have an edit button where I should not. I missed two weeks of time input because of this button.

And now, apparently my computer has conspired against me. Or for me, I suppose.

It somehow has clocked me in and kept me clocked in 24 hours a day for the last week and a half. I'm earning overtime out the whazoo.

The note from my professor says, in part, "I think at this point we owe you 10k."

Awesome, say I.

I wish it could stay that way. Alas, I will be fixing the problem tomorrow.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Kyle is a hater

Even though dtjunkie apparently doubts my ability to make a post a day for November, here is Sunday's post.

The weekend was a dizzying array of travel and friends. Today we went to breakfast with my friend Emily, who has recently returned to Louisville after a couple of years being a reporter out in California. She is now at the Courier Journal, which means among other things, that she and I have to get used to being on the same time zone. It was great when she was three hours behind me and I was not sleeping -- these days she goes to bed at a reasonable hour, which is to say, before me.

After breakfast Hal and I drove to NKy where I went to the baby shower for a very old friend. Kristen has been one of my greatest friends since grade school and I was so happy to be able to attend the baby shower for Ava. Kristen looks so fabulous and the baby is going to be one of the best-dressed kids around. I can't wait to meet Ava when she makes an appearance! It was also fun to spend some time with some old friends that I don't get to see very often.

We ate dinner with my grandparents and drove back to Bloomington in the dark and cold. I returned to several emails from my students with questions about their last assignment, due Wednesday, or the test they have tomorrow.

After a crazy and fun weekend, I'm exhausted and ready to go to bed! I leave you with a photo from Saturday night. My college roommates and I smile while sharing many moments of silliness and laughter -- which is pretty much the way it always was. From L-R, Amanda, Sarah, me, and Anne.


This might say Sunday, but I'm still living Saturday night, so I'm counting it for the Saturday post.

Hal and I just got finished with a fun-filled night with my old roommates from college and their husbands. We are in Louisville and just listened to an hour of REALLY BAD karaoke.

We all ate dinner together and then went to a pub to watch the UK football game and remember the good times of college. At some point in time I will recount some of the stories of living in Fort Conn, as we called our house. Now, though, I'm in my old roommate's house and sleepy. So there will be more later!

Friday, November 14, 2008


I received a wonderful phone call this morning from a higher up in my department letting me know that I was accepted to the PhD program! She said she knew I was nervous about it and she wanted me to know the decision. I was so happy she called and so happy that the news was good news!

So thanks for all of your thoughts and well-wishes! I haven't gotten the official letter yet, but I'm assuming the call from the higher up is official enough.

Now, my circle of Kernel friends often send out fake news stories when something cool happens to one of us. I was lucky to get my own story today. From my friend Derek, my fake news story is as follows (note: I took out my last name b/c I'm worried about googlers):

INDIANA --- The artist formerly known as Stacie M. is about to become way smarter than you.

M., 26, referred to in some circles as Stacie J., was accepted this week into Indiana University's doctorate of mass communication program, said spokeswoman Emily Hagedorn.

"This means she will be in school for four more years, I think," said Hagedorn, who isn't too fond of specifics. M., a University of Kentucky graduate and veteran reporter/editor at the Kentucky Kernel, will use her newfound education to teach journalism at a university.

Friends of M. rejoiced.

"If I ever was crazy enough to go and get my doctorate I'd have her as my professor," said UK classmate and Kernelite Sara Cunningham. "She was probably better than any of my master's degree teachers." Except Mike Farrell, she later added.

M. phoned Hagedorn and another Kernelite, Andrea Uhde, to share the news. M. will only be friends with you if you worked at the Kernel.

There was a time when M. was hellbent on becoming a lawyer. She even spent a year at Chase Law School at Northern Kentucky University. Now she's hellbent on becoming a doctor of journalism, just like Hunter S. Thompson. (Although his was honorary.)

"I remember her studying and going crazy about the LSAT --- I think that was her," said Kernelite Derek Poore. "She was stressed something fierce. But she was never much for laws and rules and stuff."

M. lives in Bloomington with husband Hal and dog Layla. She attended St. Henry High School "somewhere in Northern Kentucky," the concise Hagedorn said.

John F. Kennedy, president of the United States in the 1960s, said M.'s path was an honorable one. In a written statement, Kennedy began: " 'There are few earthly things more beautiful than a university,' wrote John Masefield in his tribute to English universities. And his words are equally true today. He did not refer to towers or to campuses. He admired the splendid beauty of a university, because it was, he said, 'a place where those who hate ignorance may strive to know, where those who perceive truth may strive to make others see.' "

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I saw this article today.

It's an article about how pets improve your health, and that people with pets are apparently better able to handle stressful situations and have lower blood pressure.

But what if the pet causes the stressful situation and increased blood pressure?

I'm sure those of you who have pets have had this experience. I know we did many times with my childhood dog Halley. And we definitely have with Layla.

I know what you're thinking. How can this:


be stressful?

There was one day.

Layla was adapting quite well from living in the crazy pound to living with us. We were crating here during the day while we were at work and coming home to play with her all evening. She has a big metal crate that she has always liked.

One day soon after I started teaching orientation for the high school, I pulled up in my driveway and noticed that the blinds in my bedroom and the blinds in my dining room were missing. The windows were completely bare.

The first thought was that we had been robbed. I opened the garage door and walked into the house.

Imagine my surprise when Layla met me at the door.

Somehow she had popped the top off of her metal crate and set about DESTROYING the house. She must have had an amazing time while I was at school.

In her fun she:

Pulled 2 blinds off the walls and chewed through several strips on a third one,

Knocked over a lamp (by jumping onto the couch),

Broke a stone coaster,

Ate a pair of my tennis shoes,

Got ONTO the kitchen table and retrieved a jar of her treats, which had a screw on lid like a peanut butter jar. She unscrewed the lid and ate ALL of the treats. We didn't find the lid for several days (it was very far underneath a chair),

And in the thing I think was most annoying to clean up -- knocked over our paper shredder and spread shredded paper up and down our stairs and in our office,

among other various misdeeds.

You can imagine -- the house was a WRECK. I was infuriated. I cleaned it all up and Layla and I had a long talk. I assure my blood pressure was sky high that day.

She's never done anything like that again.

Weeks later, we realized that Layla had picked up whipworm at the pound. Whipworm is a very common parasite, but unlike many worm issues, you can't see whipworm. I attribute her insane behavior on this day to the beginnings of her whipworm disorder manifesting itself (whipworm takes several months to incubate -- she picked it up right before she left the pound and didn't start exhibiting signs until almost two months after we got her). It took awhile before we figured all of this out, but I'll spare you that story. It was, however, an easy fix once we figured out the problem.

Regardless of any mischief she did when she was a puppy (she doesn't get into trouble these days), we're still glad we have her. So I guess that article is right in the end.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Since today has been dreary, rainy, chilly, and generally miserable, I take myself back to a time when it was sunny and miserably hot.

Hal and I traveled to Lexington back on October for Keeneland's fall meet. Keeneland is a horse racing track. It's a UK student tradition to go the either the fall or the spring meet -- it's only open for about 6 weeks out of the year. If you have seen the film Seabiscuit (and if you haven't, you should), there are scenes filmed at Keeneland.

Although it was October 11th, it was about 10 million degrees outside. Hal had packed dress slacks and a button down shirt. I noticed this as I was packing and threw in a pair of shorts for him to wear. I packed my own shorts. Thank goodness I did.

I also made sure not to wear conspicuous jewelry. The last time I went to Keeneland I wore one of my favorite necklaces, which is in the shape of a big diamond. I got so sun burnt that I had a huge white diamond on my chest. Not exactly attractive. I was careful this time.

Keeneland is an interesting collection of people. As I said, Hal intended on dressing up, and many people do, but there are many people who are dressed in jeans and T-shirts as well (I tend to fall in that group). Guess which group my sister Jennie and my cousin Kayla belong to?

Even though we were TERRIBLE betters and didn't win any money, I have included some pictures for my sister, who REALLY wanted me to post them.


They bring the horses around the tree-lined walkway so people can look at them before they make their bets.


Kayla and Hal look over the program to place a good bet.


Kayla, me, and Jennie. These are terrible pictures of me. Mostly because it's so hot.


Hal and me. We didn't match on purpose. I swear.



Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cardinals are a Gift

I have always looked for cardinals. Red birds. When I see them, I smile, remembering.

Recently there were two, a male and a female, on the tree outside my back yard. They regarded me, hoping around on the branches a bit, as I let the dog out. I stood and watched them for a couple of minutes, and said quietly, "Hello."

Cardinals remind my of my grandparents. My father's parents, my grandmother and grandfather, have passed now, but so many things remind me of them. The redbirds are one of the best things because they come so randomly.

There is a family story about my dad's maternal grandparents that goes something like this:

When my great grandfather Kennedy was dying (in 1965), there was often a cardinal sitting on his bedroom window. When he died, the cardinal looked in, and then flew away.

Later, when his wife was sick and on her deathbed (in 1970), there were two cardinals sitting on the windowsill. When she died, they flew away.

Perhaps it's old Irish superstition -- they were Kennedys after all. Perhaps it's the urge to look for signs -- we're Catholic. In any regard, the story has become one of family lore. We see cardinals as a gift. Because we see them that way, a gift they are.

I didn't know my great grandparents. But I did know my grandparents. The story, passed down, has come to symbolize them as well. At least for me.

They always remind me to say hello to Grandma and Grandpa when I see them..

Monday, November 10, 2008


So the committee is not meeting until Friday.

This caused somewhat of a meltdown of annoyance.

I have since regrouped and will live to fight on Friday. Hopefully there is good news then. Thanks to all of you for crossing your fingers and toes!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008



We used to own this house.

The house had 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a big kitchen with a breakfast nook, a dining room, living room, and an open room in the upstairs.


The kitchen had a pot rack.


The breakfast nook had a cool light fixture (which matched the one in the kitchen).


Hal and I could both fit into the kitchen at one time.


And we could fit many more people into our dining room.

But we don't live there anymore.

I decided to go back to school in an area that constituted a 150 mile move. We were lucky to sell the house in this market. Because of the double mortgage/rent payments, we set our sights small, hoping to get a place that we could handle for a year or two.

We now live in a 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath townhouse. We have no garage. We have a kitchen too small for Hal and I to fit in at the same time. Our china cabinet is in our living room. There is kitchen gadgets galore in our living room closet. We have china place settings in our upstairs hallway closet (we do have several displayed in the china cabinet).

We are stuffed in this townhouse.

Hopefully tomorrow we will know if we will be looking for a new place to live in Bloomington or elsewhere in the world. Tomorrow I am supposed to find out if I get into the PhD program or not. If I do, we start to look for a new place to move into this summer, after the lease is up here. If I don't get in, reevaluation begins. The nearest programs I'm interested in are several hours away. We're talking Colorado, Florida, and North Carolina, to name a few. Hopefully it won't come to that. Perhaps the answer will be to move back home and resume life as it was.

We have spent a year and a half in this townhouse. I will be happy to move some place bigger.

Keep your fingers crossed for me! Two times, first, that I find out tomorrow, and second, that what I find out is GOOD news.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Anatomy of a Saturday Night


I put aside some grading.... Well, a LOT of grading. This is my second assignment for the class I'm TA-ing. I'm working on summaries of shield statutes. There are 165 students in the class, so it will take me at least a week to get through them.

The highlighted pages are a roster of my students. I highlight their names when I get their papers in. It's a little trick I learned back when I was teaching high school. The photo collage frame is of pictures from our honeymoon. I haven't gotten around to hang it up. Sigh.

We go out and purchase some new food and a new pillow for Layla! We are keeping this pillow on the first floor so we can start to try to redirect her there while we're eating. She currently likes to sit on the floor next to the table and look at us longingly. This could be a problem for guests.

Hal tries to make the dog crazy by dancing around to the music playing:


On the title screen for Chicago! :) We've already watched The Princess Bride tonight. It's the first time either of us had seen it -- we approve!

And what's a movie without a...



We picked up some chocolate covered pretzels at Kroger. I should do a photo shoot in Kroger. It was just remodeled, and it is GORGEOUS. These pretzels came from the bulk bins. Very high class. (We also got a bottle of wine....I didn't take pictures of that.)

We're boring, but it's a nice and relaxing way to spend a Saturday night.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Tales from the Bus: Overheard Aftermath of the Election

Boy 1: Facebook has been crazy today.

Boy 2: Man, I know. Everyone is posting about the election. It's nuts.

Boy 1: The best one I've seen is from my friend. His status said, "I was going to go do laundry, but Obama stole all the change."

Bus riders in general: HA!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Today is a very special day

Today is a BIG DEAL.

stephen and stacie
(Stephen and I dance to "Stacy's Mom" at my wedding)

Stephen, my brother, turns 21 today.

Steve-O is the third child in my family. Personality abounds. He's the one who looks like me, most people say. He's the wise guy, the salesman. He's got a little streak of troublemaker in him. He knows every line to every movie and TV show he's ever seen.

He is constantly making me laugh, like here, where he said to me during our formal family pictures on my wedding day, "Stacie, did you know you were getting married today?"

(photo by TM Photography)

Or here, when he, while on crutches, dressed up for my sister's state volleyball tournament, which happened to fall right before Halloween (he had a crazier outfit, but I don't have a picture of it on my computer):


He's also always accomplished strange and wonderful things. When we were little, we would go to basketball games at other schools. Come halftime, my parents would wander out to the concession stand, and Stephen would be working. They say that he was constantly being approached by strangers in the grocery store when he was very little; people thought he was so cute.

He also accomplished something the rest of us didn't -- four siblings on Homecoming Court, Stephen was the one crowned king:


He's the original butterfly champion:

Stephen Fly

He also happens to be a fantastic guy.

Happy Birthday, Stephen.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Daily Newsie talked about a moment of hilarity that she witnessed today when a woman declared, while standing at a monkey exhibit, "This monkey's boring. We're going to McDonald's." This brought back a memory.

In the summer of 2003, I lived in southwest Florida while interning at a newspaper.

While in Florida, I met many wonderful people. One of the places we congregated at was a restaurant called Buffalo Chips. It had good wings and cheap drinks, and it was all-ages for those of us who weren't yet 21 and therefore couldn't go to a traditional bar.

One of the first nights we were there, several of us were sitting at a table directly in front of a family of four, parents and two young kids. This family appeared to be eating dinner. It was 11 p.m.

I did think it was a little weird that they had their very young children out eating dinner at 11 p.m., but Bonita has a lot of tourists, and it's possible they were on some weird vacation schedule.

While sitting there, my friend Arron and I overheard the mother loudly scold her child.

"Put down that celery and eat your dinner!"

Arron and I looked at each other and cracked up.

Heaven forbid the child have a vegetable.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Just a Thought

I appreciate living in a country where I have the ability to vote.

There it is, folks. That's as political as I get! :)

P.S.: I love getting the sticker!

Monday, November 3, 2008

My Favorite Detention

I loved teaching high school. One of the things I loved about it was that I had such a good group of kids I rarely ever had to discipline them by giving them detention. But one glorious day I gave an amazing detention.

On one random day at school, there was a blackout.

It was bright enough that we didn't have to call off school. We assumed that the lights would turn back on any minute. So we worked through the dark and lack of power point projectors.

As I walked through the darkened hallway, I can see that I probably resembled a student.

It was dark, first of all.

I'm short. I had my hair in a pony tail. I had on khaki pants and a sweater, which is part of the dress code where I taught.

In any case, the poor freshman boy behind me didn't realize it was me, the teacher whose class he was heading to.

This particular freshman boy on this particular day thought he was hilarious. And decided to proclaim his hilarity to the school.

After all, it was dark and no one would know it was him.

So he took a deep breath and yelled, "PENIS!" at the top of his lungs.

Right behind me.

I turned around.

It was light enough for him to realize what he had just done.

"GASP!" The look on his face was priceless.

I decided I was also hilarious. I smiled, and yelled at the top of my lungs.

"DETENTION!" I said.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Blogging November

This month is NaNoWriMo month.

NaNoWriMo celebrates National Novel Writing Month, and encourages people to write 50,000 words (about 175 pages) during the month of November. It's a really cool concept that encourages people to do one of the hardest things in terms of becoming a writer --- JUST WRITE. It doesn't matter if it's good or bad writing, it's that you're writing that's important.

Although I would love to write 50,000 words during the month of November, I think my thesis adviser would be horrified that I were doing that in addition to my thesis. So, I will partake in a similar endeavor.

NaBloPoMo celebrates National Blog Posting Month. It challenges bloggers to post every day for a month. Of course, it's already the 2nd of November, but I didn't hear about this til today, so I think I'm off the hook for yesterday.

How did I hear about this? Several of the fabulous bloggers I read are also attempting this challenge! See: her and her.

So I will try to blog every day for the rest of the month. Any ideas or things you want to hear about from me?