Sunday, October 26, 2008


Gavin, as you know, spent 32 days in the neonatal intensive care unit. Thirty-two days of leaving the hospital with empty arms, comforted only by the knowledge that I at least had a son to someday take home.

Some days, though, I was able to carry home a quilt, made by some wonderful anonymous quilter who wanted to give some comfort to the moms and dads of those tiny babies. I have three, all of which were used liberally and are now packed away carefully. On those days, I felt less... adrift. I don't remember the first 32 days beyond traveling to the hospital, holding Gavie, coming home, going back to hold him some more.

Somehow the house was kept to a minimum of chaos and the cat was fed and the big guy and I functioned as normal humans, but I just don't remember how those things actually got accomplished. So adrift probably needs aimless in there, too.

I never met any of the women who made those wonderful quilts. I never will. But I got to meet one who does the same in her hometown, working with her fellow quilters to make not only quilts but also tiny funeral gowns.

Alice wasn't part of the rowdy four in the carriage, and I fear I lack a picture, but she and I met up in Indy as well and enjoyed an absolutely lovely time, having a late breakfast and then heading to the local museums, escorted through it all by her charming husband. Alice has edited my last three writing projects (God love her) and has put up with a good many of my quirks (again, God love her). She is the bee's knees, gang, not only because she's waded through what tallies to 800+ pages of my writing over the last six months but also (more importantly) because she's a quilter queen bee who gives NICU moms and dads something to hold on to when we can't hold our babies.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Sex and the City, the Next Generation

Last fall I was invited -- INVITED! -- to attend a colloquium on economics, liberty, and freedom. What followed was an absolutely brain-exhausting trip to Indianapolis, IN, this past June. It was glorious.

The best part, even better than the intellectual over-stimulation and five-star hotel (complete with limo ride to and from the airport, thank you), was that I was finally able to meet Caron, Heidi, and Carol. These three women are amazing writers and astounding people. Despite never meeting face-to-face prior, I felt no compunction creating a scene in the hotel lobby with hugs and (in the case of Caron) hugging and jumping up and down.

I've been lucky enough to work with Caron and Heidi so far. Carol and I haven't teamed up yet, but if my writing keeps rolling... who knows?

Myself, Caron, Carol, and Heidi taking a buggy ride around Indy.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Kickin' First Week...

Gavie started kindergarten this week. He now possesses two very important pieces of information, guaranteed to help him through pretty much everything in life:

1) You can count to 100 by tens.
2) If you kick hard enough, you win.

Um, yeah. You read that second one right.

Four words: four-boy kicking match. They started it. He finished it. My tall, quiet son apparently has no tolerance for foolishness.

All I can say is thank God we haven't started karate lessons yet...

I Don't Know

Don't ask me what I just did to myself, but I signed up for a three-year Doctor of Science program at Robert Morris University in Moon Township, PA.

After the thumping headache of terror passed Monday morning and we got into the meat of the program, I think I made the right decision. Aw, hell, no. I know I made the right decision.

Now, with seven days under the belt, eleven books to read, and a stack of handouts enough to fell a small forest, I'm counting the days until our next meeting... and hoping I can managed my time enough to get everything done before said meeting...

We are a group, I suspect, of quiet talents. We are understated when we speak of ourselves. Perhaps that is a paradox for a group of alphas, but perhaps not. We shall see, I suppose. There are twenty-two of us in Cohort 10. We are not particularly loud. Yet. We have not put holes in walls. Yet. We haven't gone around the mental bend, either. Yet.

Don't hold your breath on that last one.

We have now discovered several truths and we now live in anticipation of Fred's stories that seem to go with everything and wonder when (if?) we'll become a part of them, we now wonder if we're paying enough attention to the world and if Skovira has shirts that aren't blue, and we now live in horror of accidental plagiarism. (A dubious thank you to my profs for adding to my alpha-personality-induced neurosis.)

We have also discovered that this is a journey that we cannot take alone because, well, to paraphrase the wise philosopher Buffet: we don't know.

(First posted on the RMU Cohort 10 blog.)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Guest Post: Four Fingers Speaks

After reading each posting in the past few days, from the sentimental to the irreverent, allow a rookie’s perspective…

Things I learned on my summer vacation:

  • The term “vacation” is used very broadly and is sadly misunderstood.
  • Weeks are counted as years.
  • Filters – mental, physical and verbal, are left at home for “The One True Week.”
  • Four fingers – I can’t remember, but it was a good night.
  • Polmounter is, in fact, a person -- and I feel personally responsible for her well being (rookie over-achiever though she be).
  • Golf is a lot more interesting than I would have imagined.
  • Much can be said with duck tape plastered on one’s face.
  • Plumbers can leverage ridiculous ads for profit.
  • RONA is not a person – but can be a nightmare for the ill-informed.
  • “Your worst nightmare” can be a teddy bear in disguise (thank you for your reassurance, Kevin).
  • Kids take their roles very seriously.
  • Vincent is wise and committed – or should be.
  • Sleep … um… I forget what that is so don’t count on it!
  • Nicknames are, usually, a compliment or accurate description.
  • Trial by fire is a mixed blessing and rookie is neither age nor gender specific.
  • Not taking oneself too seriously is a blessing – and necessity.
  • “Behind the scenes” means that the sunrise and sunset are possible!
  • Junk can be useful in its final hour.
  • The “real world” is disguised as a simulation.
  • Winning is not the prize it’s cracked up to be – it can be “the kiss of death” predictor of things to come.
  • For week III “The one true week,” one can be whomever they wish to be - and get away with it!

Thanks for the memories, the humor and the education and thanks for letting this “rookie” play.

“Stelle” a.k.a. Four Fingers

Saturday, August 02, 2008

TOTW, explained... sorta

Week III is known for its tendency towards volume, for its creative use of the English language, and for its absolute lack of comportment that makes lesser "weaks" cringe. We are as cohesive as any other "weak," but we have a longevity that surpasses.

We call ourselves "Week III, The One True Week."

We gather every night in the hospitality suite and drink a little and laugh a lot. On Friday night, some of us went to the Cell Block, as dance club two blocks away from the hotel. We danced a bit and drank a few. I officially doubled the number of shots that I've drank in my life. I'm up to four. Total.

Before leaving, two of us opted to have a slice of pizza and to watch the crowd from the third floor. (Let me tell you, after watching the hook-ups, the gyrations, and the preening, I was once again reminded of how glad I was not to be in the chaos of single-hood.)

We ate our pizza (which was rather good) and spent our time analyzing the dancing going on below.. and giving a running commentary of mating habits of the various human beings.

Todd and I were also wondering if we could run fast enough should he drop the "necklace" of neon glow-stix (made from the stix that were in the shots the lot of us downed) on some hapless soul below. It was pretty likely that a game of ring toss would not be appreciated.

It was a good end to a great week.

The e-mails are already flying from computer to computer as we rehash and remember the PFEW 2008's One True Week. We talk about how we really do have trouble articulating it. For that, I offer this public reply...

Dear Fellow Week III'ers:

Actually, gang, we CAN put it all into words... the problem is that it always sounds like a week of debauchery, creative profanity, and behavior which is so far from proper comportment that the Holiday Inn keeps moving us father and father away from the other paying guests.

And yet we keep coming back (and they keep LETTING us come back) for more... must have been the kool-aid.

I can't stop smiling down here. Even as I was greeted by seventeen binders on my desk, a stack of evaluations, and 30 term papers, I couldn't stop smiling. When I was told that I looked happy and relaxed, I said thank you. When asked where I was for the last week, I said econ camp. Man, does that end a conversation quickly! Gets you funny looks, too.

Econ camp and relaxing are not words that one would put together in the same sentence. Somehow, though, we manage it. To that end, we rock. No wonder we're the One True Week.

The One True Week

Well, readers, just spent the last week at Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week. For the last few years, I've been trying to find just the right words to explain just why I give up a week of my life to go volunteer at what is essentially econ camp. If I stop to think about the vacation days, the drive, the money, and the time spent, I can't quite figure it out myself.

But that's logic speaking, and -- frankly -- logic doesn't seem to get me very far sometimes. Particularly when it comes to this week.

I could tell you about the friendships and how these men and women are some of the most amazing people that I've ever met, but it all sounds hollow because it doesn't do any of them justice.

I could tell you about the kids I had this year: seventeen teens that, just seven days ago, I never heard of let alone met. Those seventeen young adults are the best of the best in this state. They are the ones who don't need adults to guide them, not much anyway. These are the ones who just need the examples set and the occasional kick in the right direction. They'll go to college, they'll be successful. What they don't "get" now, more than likely will be "gotten" later as real life kicks in even further. But that sounds too teacher-ish, and "teacher" is certainly not what I'm aiming for.

I could even mention how this week centers me, grounds me, and reminds me of why I'm here. I could talk about how healing it was to return in '06 after I buried Dad. Somewhere, too, I could slip in mention of how Junior Achievement changed my life and that this is how I return the favor. But how might I do that without sounding maudlin or cliched?

Time after time, it's not enough.

You see, it's not about what is done. It's what is experienced. It's about being with people who are exactly what they are, no pretense.

On Wednesday night, we honored those volunteers, a.k.a. company advisers, who had reached their ten- and fifteen-year marks. I sat there and watched the crowd, taking in the old faces as well as the new. As always, I marvelled at everything that this week does for us, perhaps what it does to us.

It's the group, in truth. A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but PFEW Week III by any other name simply isn't the same.

So this time, rather than try to sum it all up in quasi-brilliant prose, I'm going for truth: I have, I believe, grown up immeasurably since I first drove to Williamsport, PA, as a twenty-five-year-old first-year teacher fresh from the trenches of a public high school. At dinner this past Wednesday, Witmer joked that the Week III Company Advisers have watched me grow up emotionally. It gained a chuckle from the group and conversation moved on, but he was rather accurate. I think so anyway. For certain, readers, the nervous little girl I was a decade ago is no longer anywhere to be seen.

It was a remark that gave me pause, and I've been mulling it over ever since and turning it about in my head alongside the question of just why I am so illogical when it comes to PFEW Week III.

Then, finally, the so-called illogical reason that I come to PFEW finally hit me: I go to PFEW because I leave PFEW wanting to be a better person. I like the woman I am when I'm there.

It's something that I affectionately blame every single one of my fellow Week III'ers for that.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Did you hear the one about the missed deadline? (Part II)

Okay, Caron, this Part II is so your fault.

And, for that, you are my hero.

So you all know from the previous post that I was promoted to Senior Lead Teacher at my current workplace. With a few months under my belt, I can safely say that I have a clue and am glad I made the jump when I did.

What you don't know is that Caron, a friend of mine from a long-ago writing job for Pittsburgh-based EDMC, is quite busy with her writing and found one job too many on her plate this past May. Enter moi. The end result is that I found myself writing an on-line course on medical terminology for a publishing company.

Well, that's not really the end, as I'm writing a second course for them now and -- if the gods are kind -- more in the future. It's actually rather enjoyable since I have this rabid need to learn everything.

Oh, yeah.... one more thing... Robert Morris University and I have joined forces. I'm in the August 2008 cohort for the Doctor of Science program in (hold onto your hats) Information Technology and Communication Systems.

Maybe I should be the one holding onto my hat. I just signed away three years of my life for that piece of paper!

As for Killing Julie, I found a new-and-improved ending and am (finally) writing that query letter.

For those wondering about my little Captain Chaos, rest assured: he's out and about and creating an amazing amount of chaos -- particularly with his new Colonial Williamsburg toy rifle. He keeps chasing the cat. (I'll leave the rest to your imagination.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tiny Kickers and tiny kickers

I don't do rain. I don't do soggy fields. I don't do mud.

Not if I can help it, at least.

At 9:30 one Saturday morning this past May, I was delightedly watching the rain come down. "Looks like it isn't going to let up," I remarked (rather hopefully) to the big guy. "They might cancel soccer today."

"Only if there's thunder and lightening," came the reply.

I returned to the window and listened with all my heart for thunder. None came. Gavie joined me at the window.

"Raining, mom. Maybe they'll cancel soccer." He sounded as hopeful as I felt. Soccer was a great idea before he found out that there were rules involved and -- worse -- that you had to follow them.

No such luck for either of us. We were at the field, and he was sopping wet just 30 minutes later.

(Gavie doesn't do rain any more than his mother, just for the record.)

The final Saturday was worse -- yet heartening. 'Twas as soggy as could be and there we were: all three of us on a field with eight thousand other parents and Tiny Kickers, all ready to play in the mini-tournament.

Poor Gav. He's cursed with my genes when it comes to soccer. Three twenty-minutes games are very, very long. Especially when he's on a team with a bunch of really motivated teammates. Gav would rather find worms than practice. He just wasn't into the game of "clean your room," which was a euphemism for "keep the ball away from the goal." Practicing control by playing "sharks" wasn't much more interesting. Though he did like playing "kick the coach."

(No, it wasn't personal. I just like the irony of the name and Gav's lack of interest in the overall game. This practice was a free-for-all where the kids could kick the ball towards the coaches. Not at. Just towards.)

The heartening part of the last Saturday was seeing that my kid wasn't the only non-soccer fiend in the organization. While Gavie did get into the game for three nano-seconds and chased the ball in the right direction, he preferred the idea of gathering tadpoles in the giant puddles created by the park's watershed. Guess what? My kid wasn't the only Tiny Kicker distracted by the tadpoles. A good dozen or so from the teams immediately next to the puddles found these other tiny kickers much more interesting than a silly soccer ball.

At least I can take heart that he didn't abandon his goalie position for the sake of baby froggies.

As for me, the non-Soccer Mom, well.... I'm just a total let-down to this stereotype (yeah, like most of you didn't see that one coming). For starters, I don't own a minivan. Peg me a loser and give me the raspberries on this one, gang. I have to side with Gavie in this one: tadpoles are way cooler than soccer.

We'r going to try basketball this fall.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Did you hear the one about the missed deadline? (Part I)

Well readers... it's time to confess.
I'm not making the May 30th deadline.

I've two reasons, one is below.

The second is Caron's wonderful fault and has everything to do with writing... well, writing everything but Killing Julie. (But that's Part II to this entry and coming later this week when I have a moment to breathe.)


Date: May 16, 2008

To: Western School of Health and Business Careers, Monroeville

From: Thomas Contrella

Subject: Organizational Announcement

I am pleased to announce that effective today Michelle Louch has been promoted to the position of Senior Instructor of our Monroeville Campus. Reporting to Mr. Butler, Michelle will be an integral part of the education team at our School. Two of the most important focus areas for Michelle will be that of Student Services and Academic/Faculty Development.

Michelle brings over 12 years of educational experience to this position. In addition to her work at Western, she is an adjunct instructor at Seton Hill University and a freelance writer.

Michelle is currently in process of selecting a Doctoral program at a local university. She earned her Masters of Science in Leadership and Business Ethics from Duquesne University, and a Bachelors of Art in History with secondary education certification from Seton Hill University.

Please join me in congratulating Michelle and supporting her in her new role.

Thank you,

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Today, I finished the revisions. Today, I closed Killing Julie -- again. True, it was finished a month ago, but today I finished smoothing out the lumps and bumps. Today I finished cleaning up the small details, such as consistency and clarity.

The query letter is drafted, I 'm working on formatting details, and my readers are promising feedback by the end of the month. All that's left, then, is to edit in my own proofreading as well as their suggestions.


New deadline: May 30.
New goal: boxed and ready to send to potential agents.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Last Lecture

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”
--Randy Pausch

When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, was asked to give a "last lecture," he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave — “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” — wasn’t about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because “time is all you have... and you may find one day that you have less than you think”). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.

-- from the Hyperion website for The Last Lecture.

Click here to read about The Last Lecture.

Dr. Pausch will be on ABC tonight, talking to Diane Sawyer about it all.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Gavie

Was it really five years ago that I went shopping and bought the wrong groceries? Went to the ice cream store and ordered a sugar cone, which I never have and never will like? Went home and remarked on how the cat was acting weirder then usual around me?

Was apparently going into labor and didn't even realize it?

Was it really five years ago that I woke up at 1 a.m. and said to the big guy that my back hurt? I remember laying in bed, looking at the clock, trying to figure out if I should worry about the strange, minor pains that were coming with odd irregularity: one minute, five minutes, three minutes, ten minutes...

If it hadn't been for the small dot of blood on the bed sheet, I might have rolled over and tried to go to sleep.

After all, I was only seven months pregnant!

But the small dot was enough for the big guy to put his foot down and drive me to Magee at 1:30 in the morning.

My water broke just fifteen minutes after our arrival. Gavin was born at 4:59 a.m.

One wonderful squall came from my son before his lungs collapsed, but I knew nothing save for the fact that he was alive and had screamed as babies are supposed to and that the doctors had him on the crash cart and were taking care of everything. My husband and mother were there and neither gave any indication that something might be wrong.

It might have been five minutes later or forty, I've no idea, but when he was stable again I got to hold him -- forever, my memory will be of the fact that the first thought into my mind was that he was wrapped up like a little bowling pin. I could only hold him for a moment and it wasn't enough, but at four pounds and only seven months a moment is dear.

Just this week I read, again, that premature babies face a larger number of health risks, developmental issues, learning delays, etc. etc.

Someone, very fortunately, forgot to tell my son about the article.

Just yesterday, for example, Captain Chaos climbed the hill in our backyard and began throwing rocks down it to... well, I'm not sure why really. Maybe he was testing the theory of gravity. Then, because he thought it would be interesting, he tried to pulverize a deer bone (found in our backyard, our property abuts state land) with an ancient gardening spade. After that, the rocks he tossed down the hill were moved to his new pile of dirt that is half-on and half-off of our stone patio: seven pots of dirt that once held vibrant annuals were sacrificed to make a nice pile for his Tonka trucks.

"Look how strong I am, Mommy," he called, lifting the rocks and moving them to his miniature construction site. "Look!"

Ferocious mother-love welled up, and it took all of my strength not to turn into a mess of tears right then and there. He has no idea how strong he is -- nor does he know how his simply being mine gives me strength to fight for what I need.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Loose ends

I feel rather at odds, readers. With Killing Julie finished and in the hands of others, I wonder now what to do (intellectually).

The truth is that I always feel this way when I wrap up a project. Doesn't matter if it's my own novel or state exam questions for a high school competency test. It's all about the work and the high that comes from the act of creation.

So what now?

Return to writing Tigers, I assume. Begin to scrapbook again, perhaps. It's time to think about cleaning out the basement and setting up the workspace that my sister-in-law and I keep dreaming about -- space for my stamps and space for her clay. We can get ready for next Christmas and the craft shows we'd like to take part in.

I could work on ChickLit, which is Selina's story. I'm not quite interested in her anger/angst at the moment, though. Also, the more I think about it, the more I want a feminist bend to things -- and that demands a few refresher readings on woman and wolves. (Remember, I did go to Seton Hill when it was 96% female!)

A third tale is bouncing around in my brain, untitled but fully plotted: a small town and a few celebrated murders, a girl's coming of age, and a minister who fancies himself a successor to Father Karras (The Exorcist) and is quite -- shall we say? -- hellbent on proving it to his followers.

A fourth is beginning to take shape a well. A simple love story, one that is 180-degrees from everything I've ever written. No murders, no aliens (yes, I used to write sci-fi!), no mysteries beyond when the first kiss will take place. This is the murkiest idea right now -- which is ironic given my addiction to romance novels! I suppose the whole problem is what would make it different. Two leads who fall in love isn't the most exciting plot, you know.

Ah well, we shall see!

In the meanwhile, I guess I'll just turn up the iPod, open up my collection of Yeats, and go to the Lake Isle of Innisfree for a bit...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Frozen veggies, family, and a deadline met

The nice thing about being with relatives is that you can spend their visit with a bag of frozen peas on the small of your back and not feel like some weirdo.

Earlier this week, in a fit of youthful exuberance, Gavie and I played "spin until you fall down." The game is played by picking up my son and spinning in circles until I'm about to fall down. Then we stop and let the world catch back up.

However, I'm not four. I'm not even twenty-four. I'm thirty-four. My body is thirty-four. My muscles are thirty-four. And, for the past few days, I've been reminded of that... rather painfully.

Thus, the bag of peas on the back. Actually, to be perfectly honest, there's a cloth bag of frozen buckwheat draped around my neck.

(Someday the muscle spasms will end... or so promises my chiropractor, who I saw yesterday and who I will see again come Monday.)

My back put a huge crimp in the weekend plans. We were to have neighbors and some family this eve, but as my back locked back up this morning, I had to call it quits. But family is family, and despite my cancellations, I soon found relatives in my living room. They weren't worried about my back or my being on the couch not wanting to move, they just slapped a fresh bag of frozen something on me and put a beer in my hand. They were going to celebrate regardless.

So why the gathering? My deadline has been met, readers.

I've finished my book.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

So continues the novel adventure...

First, the update: 380 pages, 76,845 words, and a dead antagonist. Life is good. I might just make that March 29th deadline!

Second, the spin-off: There's a new link to your left, w(or)d(p)(lay). Rory's best friend Selina Deitson came into being a bit over two years ago in a different blog. Recently, for those who don't know already, I took the entire blog down -- all 205 posts -- and redid the entire tale. Sorta. I'm using the 205 blogs, but I'm re-arranging them. I want to see what happens. True, there is some editing to make a few things make better sense re-ordered, but the bulk remains the same... that being that Selina is a bit too-free of a spirit, is awash in excessive self-doubt, and is tired of being a stewardess to the world. She is the angry everywoman who doesn't know what to do with her anger. (Be warned: there's a few Killing Julie spoilers in there, and it isn't exactly the sort of bedtime story you'd read to your kids.)

Third, the red herring: If you click on A Novel Adventure, there remains one post only. The current version looks nothing like it, particularly since Elizabeth no longer exists.

Lastly, the request: To those of you who have ventured into the publishing world, to those of you know know someone who has, etc. etc., I am looking for referrals for agents. If you have a name or any advice for me, please drop me an e-mail.

I am eternally in debt to you all for your support, patience, help, and continued readership! Thank you!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Getting it right

Last night I slipped in late and left early; I sat in the back and sought attention from no one. Only a few knew I was there, and that was enough for me.

And in the car, heading home, I cried. Just a little, but cried nonetheless.

All that work, all those uphill battles, and all those days where I swore that I was insane to bother... worth it. Completely worth it.

I sat in the back of Soldiers and Sailors in Oakland and listened to Gloria give her graduation speech. I looked at the sea of caps and gowns and knew the battles nearly of of those students had endured. The program listed the names of those who made it through, who overcame issues that lesser men and women would have fallen before.

It's easy to disparage those who come from urban backgrounds, from the welfare rolls, and from cushy little suburban homes where the paved road was soft. It's easy to snort in contempt at the single mother who's pregnant -- again. It's tempting, too, to tell some students to pull their heads out of their posteriors and get a clue.

It's not easy to remember that they only know the lives they have. Some of them have always been single parents, they've always had someone telling them to give up when the road is bumpy, and they know nothing about a world where you don't have to sleep in the bathtub on nights when the gangs are particularly active.

The ones who live such lives, who work hard, and who graduate into careers and into their futures have nothing but my deepest regard. They are amazing people.

Gloria's speech was simple. Two sentences stick with me the most, and they are ones I need to keep remembering:

If it's not good, make it good.
If it's not right, get it right.

Last night, sitting there, I realized that I had managed to "get it right" maybe just a bit more then I thought... and that I need to make a few more things in life "good" before I can count myself as the person I want to be.

And so I slipped out of the hall early, condemned to leave due to other's schedules. But it was better to slip out then fall apart in public, which I was perilously close to doing.

You see, readers, I was mentioned in her speech. Despite my no longer being a teacher there, despite my not having had her in class for what seems eons... I can only shake my head in wonder at it all.

Thank you, Gloria, and all of my students over the years, for giving me that chance to get it right and to make it good.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Too bad I don't live in North Carolina...

I'm stealing 15 minutes (seconds?) of fame via friend Mike Munger who now has the required 100,000+ signatures to get him on the ballot for NC governor... and I'm promoting his campaign, of course. :)

I like his take on education and corporate welfare myself.

Click here for the article on Mike.
Click here for the News 13 interview.
Click here to learn about Locks of Love and Mike's own locks.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ahhh... February

Nothing better then waking up to several inches of snow and a myriad of school closures... assuming that you're under 18 and condemned to the student side of academia. For those of us in the "over" category, we are condemned to scraping our cars off at 6 a.m. and navigating streets that may or may not have been visited by the beloved Salt Truck or his brother the Snow Plow.

This morning I am proud to say that I am just about able to drive in questionable conditions without wishing for a stiff drink before and after. I hate, and I mean that in the fullest sense of the word, driving in the winter.

I hate it to the point of contemplating calling off and using a precious sick day. Hate it to the point of pondering a career change. Hate. Loathe. Abhor. You get the idea.

No doubt it has something to do with two ice-induced accidents that haunt my memories.

Ever see the opening of Death of a Salesman? A black screen and two headlights. That is the image engraved on my brain from Accident the First. There I was, driving home from a bountiful day of shopping and preparation for my upcoming Christmas open house when the wheels of my Ford Explorer hit a patch of black ice. Evil stuff that ice, as many of you no doubt know.

Being that I'd just hit my gas pedal as I hit the ice, control was not an option, and it was all I could to not to go over the hill to the right of the road. I remember looking up into the black night and seeing those two headlights before I hit the other driver head-on. Somehow I walked away from the accident, as did the other driver.

My phobia didn't kick in then, believe it or not. It took another year for that. It took a winter storm and another patch of ice, actually.

It was quite simple this time around: the car before me went into a skid, I reacted but it was too late, and went straight rather then made the bend.

This time my beloved Ford Explorer, which somehow survived the previous accident, went up against a cement barrier. Chantel and I both knew what was coming; we both screamed like the girls we are as the truck slid right into the wall. We both walked away, though this time I took a nasty case of whiplash with me, but the truck... alas.

Enter phobia.

So ponder the miracle as I drove to work today and didn't find my stomach churning in terror. It was pretty cool if you ask me. :)

Friday, February 01, 2008

Just a few things you might not know...

In the spirit of a meme, I present a forward I recevied today (thanks goes to Chuck)... rather then send a mass e-mail out to EVERYONE, I'm taking this route.

Four Things You (probably) Don't Know About Me
Four things about me that you may or may not have known in any particular order.

Four jobs I have had in my life
  1. American Greetings "card chick" (stocking cards in drug stores)
  2. movie theater ticket seller and popcorn vendor
  3. drugstore clerk
  4. gopher at a doctor's office

Four Places I have lived:
  1. Brentwood
  2. Greensburg
  3. Brentwood
  4. Irwin

Four T.V. Shows that I watch:
  1. Law & Order: SVU
  2. Bunnytown (Disney Channel)
  3. Drake & Josh (Nick)
  4. Spongebob (Nick)
(I have a kid, what can I say?!)

Four places I have been:
  1. Nova Scotia
  2. Calgury
  3. Louisville, KY
  4. Williamsburg, VA

Four favorite foods:
  1. pizza
  2. chix parm
  3. wings
  4. raisins and spice oatmeal

Four Places I would like to visit:
  1. wherever Caron is living at the time!
  2. Rome, Italy
  3. Paris, France -- to live the life of an expat for a few months
  4. Auburn, AL

Four things I am looking forward to in the coming year:
  1. finishing my novel and finding an agent
  2. going to the Liberty Fund economics colloquium
  3. working in my yard and growing roses
  4. Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

All Chaos, All the Time

In twenty-four hours.... just one day... two-four hours.... actually, not even... more like two hours...

My kid is either incredibly precocious and darling or headed for a life of cleaning crime. Damned if I know. Who else has a four-year-old who wakes up and stacks the dishwasher, cleans the bathroom, and prunes mommy's plants?

Wouldn't you just love to know what goes on in their little minds?

Okay, the dishwasher is already stacked and running since Mommy started it before going to work, but there are still few things in the sink! Oh no! She forgot them! No problem. Open it up, stand back to avoid the steam, and stick the mugs that are still in the sink in the bottom rack. Plastic bowls go on the top, just like she stacks them. Tah-dah!

Granted, the bathroom doesn't really need cleaning... but going over everything with a sopping wet towel can't hurt. Can't it? Look, everything is shiny and glossy again.

And that rubber tree keeps getting bigger and bigger and snagging me every time I walk by! Time to call upon prior knowledge here! When tomato plants get too big and bushy at Guggie's, we prune them. But what to do about the shears? Hmmmm.... here we go! Safety scissors! Opps, I cut too much off. No problem! I'll just stick that extra branch in the dirt. It looks like a whole new tree. Who can tell?

Hey, look, the sun's coming up! Time to wake Daddy up (daylight's a-wastin'!) and show him the everything I did today! He'll be soooooo proud of me!

How in the world do you punish a child who is trying to help?! You can't, really. You lay down the law on what "help" is... and try to keep your expression stern. Save the laughter for when he's out of earshot. It ruins the whole effect otherwise, you know....

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Keep on Counting

I found a new counter, seems to answer my tracking needs nicely. I like the detail it provides on visitors, return visits, length of visits, etc. Much more detailed. :)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Suggestions welcome

After running a scan on my computer, I found a tracking cookie that had been installed by my site meter. I removed the meter from both this and Ferocious Tigers, but would like to put a new one in. Preferably one that doesn't install secret code.

Does anyone have any recommendations?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


It's Tuesday and I'm at work, waiting for the day to begin. I'm nearly always the first one here, even though there's no real reason for that. It's ten years of habit, ten years of waking at five every morning for a commute that no longer exists.

I've become a morning person. What can I say?

(Okay, to still the semi-hysterical laughter of those who know me too well, I'm not a social morning person.)

Anyway, I've my iPod plugged in and my laptop connected. My teaching-related work is pretty well caught-up, and I'm giving myself a little bit of downtime in the intellectual realm.

Seton Hill started this past weekend. One Saturday and one on-line class. Both Western Cultural Traditions I, both quite the challenge -- there's few things better in my career then interested students. It looks like I'll have to really stay on my toes this term... a prospect which has me quite thrilled, thank you.

Along the lines of intellectual, I just received in invitation to participate in a colloquium sponsored by the Liberty Fund. The Foundations of a Free Society "will examine the political economic foundations of a free society... explor[ing] the Anglo-American and French Enlightenment philosophical foundations of classical liberalism; the resulting adoption of common law in England and civil law in Western Europe; and the institutionalization of classical liberalism and French Enlightenment, via common law and civil code..."

Etc. Etc.
You know, basic dinner table discussion topics.

I have about 300 pages of readings from long-dead and not-yet-dead economists to conquer before June. Happy Birthday to me, readers! I'm going to turn 35 in Indianapolis, IN, a state I haven't been in for a good sixteen years -- since I was a Junior Achievement achiever attending the International Student Forum in Bloomington, IN, with roughly 2,000 of my closest friends from all over the world.

*laughing* You know, I must sound like the world's biggest nerd. Ah well, c'est la vie!

On days like today, how can anyone be remotely blah? The sun was shining yesterday, and today's scheduled to hit the 50s. I'm coming to the end of my first term at my new school, and it looks like they might keep me. Best yet, my cold broke and I can breathe again. :)

Sunday, January 06, 2008


Tis a soggy, rainy, blah type of day outside. Inside is no better, not when you're floored with the Headcold from Hell. How floored? For the first time in who knows how long, I laid on the couch all morning and didn't move unless absolutely necessary.

Chaos turned on his CD player and listened to his kid-friendly music. He danced around the family room in his Power Ranger pjs wielding a plastic light saber. I laid there and wondered how many times a four-year-old could listen to Pots and Pans before getting tired of it. The answer has yet to be determined, but we're up to fifteen.

He played with his new cash register and stuffed his socks with the plastic coins. When he walked, they clicked together. That lasted until one coin worked its way to the bottom of his sock and "hurted" him. I laid there and offered sympathy in between my own sniffles.

He had a picnic in the living room with his plastic food, played with his clay, and drove his Matchbox trucks all over the first floor... then down the basement steps. I laid there listening to the clink clank clunk and made a mental note to clean them up before anyone broke his neck on them going downstairs to the basement. Later.

Then Handy Manny came on, followed by Bunnytown, and I pulled myself into a sitting position. Chaos snuggled up next to me while we ate the last of the Christmas cookies and drank hot tea. (Remind me to get sick more often, okay?)