Thursday, March 31, 2005

somewhere that's green

I'm Feeling: pooped!!
Background Noise: Mrs. Robinson by Simon & Garfunkel

This weekend my parents, brother, sister, and sister-in-law are coming to visit, and we have tickets to see Little Shop of Horrors at the Wharton Center on campus. I'm excited - both because my family is coming and it's been awhile since we've all hung out together, and because I basically know this musical by heart. It's hilarious - dark comedy, I'll give you that (the plant needs human blood to grow) but it is so tongue-in-cheek and it makes fun of itself really well. So we will get our culture this weekend - along with our sports. Adam and Melissa (brother and sister-in-law) are Illini alumni (that sounds funny) and Mark and I are Spartans through and through. There is still a lot to do to get ready before everyone shows up, so today and tomorrow will be a little hectic.

Thought for the day: If you could be anywhere, doing anything, all day today - where would you be and what would you do?

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

my friends!

I'm Feeling: worn out, but in a good way
Background Noise: incessant beeping from the elevator that is being replaced

I had fantastic fun last night - and that's a large part of the reason I am tired today... but it's sooo worth it! My friends Katie, Katie and Jillian (she's the one in the picture with me - isn't she gorgeous?) and I have started meeting on Tuesdays to spend some time encouraging each other and having fun. I had a BLAST yesterday - we were laughing and making jokes and teasing each other - but we were also being real and honest and leaning on each other. I love discovering beautiful, loving souls in people that you didn't know very well before - and these girls have lovely, strong, positive spirits. I really can't explain how much good it did me to have these women in my day. Work was tough - long days, lots of questions, lots of students that are stressed out by tests and enrollment and graduation, and I felt pretty wrung out by the end of the day. I was so energized and uplifted by our time together.

Then, Katie, Katie, Brooks, Hammer, and Jillian came over to our house to work out/do homework/watch Harry Potter. It was awesome!! I love that our friends like to be at our house - that they are comfortable taking over the kitchen table with their homework and relaxed enough to know we love having them there. Thanks for making our night!!

Thought for the day: What is your favorite kitchen utensil? Why?

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


I'm Feeling: cheerful!
Background Noise: Joy to the World by Three Dog Night

I'm one of those people who always has a hard time answering any question that begins with "What is your favorite...?" I don't like to pick favorites, because what if I change my mind someday? Then was it not really my favorite at all, and I was just deceiving myself? Or does that make me fickle because I can't stick to one thing? I'd much rather just tell people about the things I really like. So here are some of those things:

- Gerbera daisies
- Mint cookies and cream ice cream
- Sunshine
- Pajamas
- Banana bread
- Bare feet in the summertime
- A good book

Completely random? Yes. Theraputic and refreshing to spend some time thinking about dorky little things that make me happy? Absolutely. Have a blessed Tuesday, everyone!!

Thought for the day: Think of all the things to be happy about. How many can you write down in 60 seconds?

Monday, March 28, 2005

who woulda thunk it??

I'm Feeling: excited
Background Noise: Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World by Melvin Amina

I have no idea how they've done it - but our team is going to the Final Four!! What in the world?!? Don't get me wrong - I am thrilled that my brackets are pretty much completely shot now. Plus, the games this weekend were awesome fun to watch. And I'm not really a hang-around-and-watch-sports gal. Really, really cool. The Spartans sure have figured out how to turn it on in the tournament!

Today is much as any other Monday morning - emails waiting, appointments scheduled, and so on. BUT - it's supposed to be 55 degrees and sunny today, which makes me ridiculously happy. I can't remember ever being as ready for spring as I am this year. Hit me with it!

Have a great, sunny Monday.... GO STATE!!

Thought for the day:
If, like milk or the newspaper, you could have anything of your choice delivered to your doorstep every morning, what particular item would you want it to be?

Friday, March 25, 2005

Have a Coke

I'm Feeling: pretty stinking good, although I think my brain is slowly deteriorating...
Background Noise: Sweet Baby James by James Taylor

I'm not drinking carbonated beverages anymore - I gave them up for the year. No fantastically compelling reason, really, except: they rot your teeth, caffeine is addictive, and I'm "stayin' alive in 2005." Mostly, I feel really good - drinking mainly water has actually cut down my sweet tooth in general - since I'm not having 1 or 2 soft drinks a day, my mouth/body's sugar tolerance level has dropped dramatically.

Most of the time, it's not too hard at all to abstain... however, I do have moments where it seriously seems like the best thing in the world would be a cherry Coke - made with grenadine, of course, with a maraschino cherry in it. Delicious!!! I digress... this morning, I found this website, which made me laugh - because people make fun of each other sooo much for this... ever been down south and heard someone ask, "May I have a Coke?" The reply is, "What kind?" "Sprite, please." WEIRD.

ps. My sister has a poster that looks just like the picture I posted. She usually sticks it on her fridge. Funny - and very hospitable!

Thought for the day: The longest recorded flight of a chicken is 13 seconds. Makes me want to laugh, but then I think, "I can't do that."

Thursday, March 24, 2005

when I grow up...

I'm Feeling: laid back
Background Noise: big, stinky, noisy trucks outside... because my window is open!!

I've been dancing since I was little - I think I started before I turned 3, actually. Mostly my background is ballet, but I've done a little jazz, a little modern, a little lyrical, a little hip hop and a very little tap. I recently began taking dance class again, and was shocked to find out how much of a workout it really is! When I was young, I don't remember aching all over like I did after the first class... sure, my legs and butt would hurt after a tough class, but never my back or my neck. Either I'm getting old, or I was in fantastic shape when I was younger. Possibly a combination of both. Anyway, I have dance class tonight - 2 hours of ballet, which I'm looking forward to. It's been a few weeks, so I'll probably get my butt kicked, but that's okay.

Thought for the day: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

that time of year

I'm Feeling: wide awake!
Background Noise: Worlds Apart by Jars of Clay

Easter is this Sunday, March 27th -
which means it's the time of year for marshmallow bunnies and chicks to come out in abundance. Funny thing - when I was a kid, we ate the pure sugar animals like there was no tomorrow. Now, I can't get anyone to touch one - the most common phrase I heard was "Those are the most disgusting things EVER." Now I think that's a tiny bit harsh, since I'm sure some things are far more disgusting. But I admit, my taste for them has dropped considerably as the years have gone on - although a slightly stale Peep is the best Peep.

Last year, I found this website - I think my sister showed it to me. HILARIOUS. Peep Research. Hunting around today, I found another one. People have a lot of time on their hands (says the woman who blogs faithfully everyday).

Thought for the day: If you could have super powers, which would you choose?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Freaky Tuesday?

I'm Feeling: revved up
Background Noise: Turn, Turn, Turn by The Byrds

On my calendar of funny, little-known holidays, today is also known as Freak Out Day. I think that's kind of funny... yesterday would have been a much better Freak Out Day for me - I really felt as though I got to the office at 8, then turned around and it was 4:45... not that that's a bad thing, but I definitely didn't get all the things done I wanted to do. It freaked me out a little, since I like to stay on top of my 'junk.'

It does make me wonder what kinds of things make people freak out - sometimes it's things that make us uncomfortable, or awkward or embarrassed, but usually, stuff we are afraid of is what freaks us out. Everyone is afraid of something, and the funny thing is that sometimes fear is motivating, and sometimes it's debilitating. What makes the difference? Is it our personality or the situation? Does it depend on the day? Or the particular fear?

Thought for the day: What are you most afraid of? (or, to use proper grammar: What is thing of which you are most afraid?)

Monday, March 21, 2005

tennis, anyone?

I'm Feeling: rushed
Background Noise: Danny Boy by Eva Cassidy

The student I just met with came in carrying one of those red tennis bags... anyone who plays tennis knows that the people who carry the red bags are serious players. I like the red bags, but would never own/carry one for fear that I would be found out as a recreational tennis player posing as a serious groundstroker. Needless to say, I was impressed and we spent the first 2-3 minutes chatting about tennis. He used to use the same racket Pete Sampras used - it weighs 14oz. He owns 12 rackets, but was only carrying 4 of them today. Color me intimidated. Makes me want to play.

(Second) Thought for the day: If you could play one sport professionally, what would it be?

Yesterday = First Day of Spring??

I'm Feeling: like spring will never arrive
Background Noise: Only Hope by Switchfoot

I took this picture last April... it's hard to believe that campus could look like that in one short month! We woke up this morning to find a light dusting of snow on the ground. So much for March 20th being the first official day of spring.

Just another crazy Monday - feels like the day has flown by already (which is a good thing)... but I'm feeling a little discontented today. Not sure if it's the weather or me just having a funky day. I did, however, manage to give my office a face lift this weekend - no small thanks to Mark, who made the process 100 times faster than if I were working alone. Come on down and check it out!!

Thought for the day: What is the absolute, all-time worst movie you have ever seen? (tie between Galaxy Quest and Dude, Where's My Car?)

Friday, March 18, 2005

oh yeah, March Madness...

I'm Feeling: school spirit-y
Background Noise: Circle of Life by Elton John (yes, from The Lion King soundtrack)

I don't really care about sports, although there is a hierarchy to my nonchalance. College sports beat professionals any day of the week and twice on Sunday, and anything that MSU is playing in beats anything they aren't. It's a pretty girly breakdown, but hey, I'm a girl! Normally, I pay vague attention to the regular season (except hockey, which we get season tickets to every year) and then my interest piques when the stakes get higher.

Today, to show my wishy-washy devotion to college basketball (but unswerving devotion to the Spartans), I'm wearing my age-old MSU sweatshirt. Not my most professional outfit, but the occasion certainly called for some spirit. For the men, who play tonight, and for our awesome women, who play tomorrow afternoon. Rock on!

On a separate note, if things go as planned this weekend, my office will be getting a paint job! Nothing drastic, but it should brighten the place up a little. I also must acknowledge the recent increase in green on my blog - I normally try to keep the colors changing, but there is no excuse for NOT writing in green today and yesterday. We'll move on to some new colors next week.

Thought for today: What do people often misunderstand about you?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

top of the morning to you!

And the rest of the day to you! Happy St. Patrick's Day!! The picture is of - you guessed it - St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. I didn't take that picture, but I've been there before. It's beautiful - this huge, old church complete with turrets and stained glass windows and flying buttresses. And it's right smack in the middle of Dublin - the red brick building in the background, I believe, is an apartment building. Wild, huh? When I look out my front window, I see the Grangers' house. Not that I don't love seeing their house everyday, but can you imagine looking out your window and seeing an almost 800-year-old building??

I'm Feeling: just happy
Background Noise: Something in the Way She Moves by James Taylor

Can I just tell you that I really love when you start your day feeling happy, for no good reason at all? It's so encouraging to me to know that I don't need a reason to have a good day or a pleasant attitude - it's just there. It's a relief to not always be looking for reasons why, you know?

Thought for the day: If you could be seven years old again for a whole day, knowing what you know now, what would you do?

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

patience is a virtue

I'm feeling: quiet
Background Noise: Adonai by Avalon

That's Mark, in our kitchen, waiting for a frozen pizza to be done cooking. We spent two years living in an apartment in the residence halls on campus at MSU - I was an Assistant Hall Director in Snyder-Phillips while I got my master's degree. We had no oven there, save our trusty toaster oven. So now, we enjoy small luxuries like oven lights and windows to watch the pepperoni pizza cooking in our own kitchen. The less it takes to make you happy, the happier you'll be!

Ever have someone ask you a question and not let you answer it? This happens a lot in my job - students come to see the adviser, "I was just wondering what you thought about _____" or "I'm really torn between _____" and "How do I know if I should _______?" Most of the time, it's fun to talk with students, and try to help them sort out the things that are going on, give them some options to think about, and hopefully make them laugh as well. Those are my standard goals. Sometimes, however, a student will come in, ask one or more of those questions, and only let me say about 4 words before s/he cuts me off. Occasionally, I'll keep talking, just to see if they notice that we are both chattering away at once. They never do. Moments like that really test my patience - I trip over my own pride and say to myself "Why ask if you don't want to hear the answer??" But the end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. Chalk that up to one more thing to be working on...

Thought for today: If you could eat only one food, and nothing else, for three days in a row, what would it be?

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

a little random, let's be honest...

I'm Feeling: slightly overwhelmed
Background Noise: Goodbye Earl by the Dixie Chicks

Last week I was borderline complaining about how slow things were with all the students gone on Spring Break... today, I am eating those words! Twelve scheduled appointments, I've only been in the office a little over 30 minutes and I've already sent half a dozen emails and looked up 2 students' files. Can you pass the salt?

Anyone who knows me is aware that I love to read - last night, I started a "new" book (new means that I began on page 1 - I've actually read this book before and I've owned it for a few years). The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning - I didn't even get to finish the first chapter (there are three forewords!) and I was just stunned. I forgot what a powerfully written book it is - striking and humbling. I felt like taking a long look at my life - trying to seek out areas where I need to get over myself, areas where I need to relax and let myself have joy, and areas where I need to stop trying soo hard and getting stressed out. I know - it's a little intense - but so freeing. Highly recommended!

Thought for today: How would you finish the sentence "I am a ________" ? What makes you who you are?

Monday, March 14, 2005

Welcome back from Spring Break!

This is our nephew, James. He's about 18 months old in this picture, I think - and he's already dangerously attractive. It's probably really hard to be such a stud when you're not even 2 years old.

I'm Feeling: motivated
Background Noise: Beautiful, Scandalous Night by Bebo Norman

I had a good weekend - it's good to be back to my routine, too. For some reason, I'm feeling really motivated today... I had a good workout this morning; pushed myself pretty hard (for pre-7am on a Monday, at least). Caught up on all my emails at work first thing, etc... When I feel like this, I tend to make lists of goals that I want to meet, and how to meet them. I'd love to bottle up this feeling and keep it handy for those days when my butt is just dragging. Wouldn't that be fantastic?

Well, I hope you are all feeling rested, motivated and encouraged today - remember: there is nothing better for man than to be happy and to do good while he lives.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Family Time

I'm Feeling: Happy it's Friday
Background Noise: Fever by Eva Cassidy

Since the roads were so icky last night, we didn't get to go see our new nephew - bummer! Mark will go visit him tonight (I'm leaving straight from work to go home to Bolingbrook, IL and visit with my family). While I am not at all excited about the drive (traffic + construction = crummy Friday night), I am looking forward to the visit. The picture is my big brother, my little sister, and me at Christmas. As a good and loyal sister - Meg is sporting her MSU gear - Go Green!!

This week, I brought in some silk flowers and flower tape, and transformed a few normal pens into happy gerbera daisy pens - they are sitting on my desk in an MSU mug, looking very happy. Two reasons to do this - 1. students are much less likely to walk away with my pens now that they are gaudy, and 2. I think they look pretty. I've gotten 3 or 4 compliments on them this week too, so I think I'm gonna make some more for the other gals in the department - it's just more fun to write anything when there is a big pink flower attached to your pen! :)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

New Arrivals

I'm Feeling: energetic (which is a little odd for 9:00 in the morning)
Background Noise: Testify to Love by Avalon

Mark's sister, Martha, had her second baby this morning at 3:08 - Jonathan Trent Monteith. I'm big on the meanings of names, so I looked his name up. Jonathan means Gift of God, and Trent means Thirty (30). That made me chuckle. Anyway, we're going to go visit after work tonight - which means that I have to finish the baby blanket I made in the car on the way there. It's almost done - just needs to have the ends all woven back in (it's crocheted).

Anyway - spring break is almost over - which I'm excited about, because it's been a little too quiet in my office this week. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to have the pace change for a little while, but yesterday I spent the day purging my file cabinets of students' files - those who have graduated, changed majors, left the university... and let me tell you, it's even less edge-of-your-seat, thrill-a-minute than it sounds, if possible. I'm looking forward to having the students come back full force next week - enrollment is only a few weeks away! Bring it on!!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

I can't get no...

I'm Feeling: a little jealous of this cat
Background Noise: Sunrise by Norah Jones

This picture is from a safari trip in Africa I went on a few years ago - I was actually only about 20 feet away from this jaguar.

Okay, I'm trying to trick you - jaguars live in Central and South America, not Africa, and I took this picture last spring at the zoo in St. Louis, MO - but doesn't this creature look content? Granted, I much prefer my king-sized bed to a big ole rock, but I'm still a tiny bit envious of the state of satisfaction and relaxation. I think lots of us are missing that in our lives today. Not necessarily the actual contentment - but we miss recognizing that we have great things going on that really do make us happy.

What gives me satisfaction? Lots of little things; like being a good friend, re-reading a book I love, playing ping pong with Mark, the pretty sunset I saw last night.

What gives you satisfaction?

ps. If you want something fun to read, try How the Leopard Got His Spots by Rudyard Kipling. It's not quite a story about jaguars, but it's entertaining nonetheless.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Act your age

I'm Feeling: relaxed
Background Noise: Moving on Up by M People

I thought this was funny, especially since every single girl you ask will tell you she is/was mature for her age... I took it, and it says I'm 28 (actually 24). So I guess I was right :)

Holding on to youth

I'm Feeling: excited to see my family this weekend
Background Noise: Child of God by Todd Proctor

So that is my little sister, Megan, and Mark - being weird together. That's a stuffed frog Meg is holding, in case you can't tell - it belongs to Mark. For some reason, that frog attracts people to itself - "adults" and children alike. Clearly, Meg and Mark are enjoying the frog here - and almost every kid that has walked into our living room manages to find the frog. This weekend, our 2 1/2 year old friend Timmy played with the frog a lot - and it was about the same size as he is!
We keep the frog in our living room - which may seem weird, since Mark and I are married, "adult" professionals with no kids of our own. But we try hard to hold on to that playful side of life that tends to get lost as you get older. For example - our living room is painted orange - pumpkin orange, and our couches are denim. We figure - if you have to spend time, money and energy on things like paint and furniture (not the MOST exciting investments), then you should at least have fun with it. Our basement has a ping pong table, foosball table, and air hockey table, as well as a corner full of workout equipment. We have no beef with getting older, or behaving responsibly or anything like that. It just seems like it's a good idea to try to keep in touch with your youthfulness - since every day I'm alive, there are more and more people out there younger than I am.
A quote I appreciate very much, from books that Mark and I full-out admit we LOVE - Harry Potter. "Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels, but old men are guilty if they forget what it is to be young." Words of wisdom from Albus Dumbledore. I'm certain I'll be blatantly harrassed for that, but I think it's so profound!
So here's to staying young at heart - so that the best years of your life can always be ahead of you!!
(oh, and my scientific experiment this weekend went phenomenally well - although I substituted Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream for Cherry Garcia. The cold definitely had a hold on me on Saturday and Sunday - but I beat it into submission! I highly recommend that regime!)

Friday, March 04, 2005

cure for the common cold

I'm Feeling: sneezy (like the dwarf)
Background Noise: All That Jazz by Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago Soundtrack)

I've been really excited this winter - I thought I was going to make it through without getting sick. Mark's gotten a couple of colds, and I've managed to stay pretty darn healthy. But this past week, I've been feeling more and more under the weather. I'm pretty sure it's just a cold, which is good, considering all the flu that's been going around.

Medically, there is no cure for the common cold - you can treat your symptoms, but you just have to suffer through until the virus works its way out of your system. However, I have a few ideas about what might really help cure the common cold:

1. lots of ice cream - especially Cherry Garcia
2. spending a few days with good friends
3. watching reruns of your favorite TV show
4. backrubs!
5. more ice cream

My scientific experiment thus begins this weekend. I will try these treatments, and let you know how I'm feeling afterward! Be rooting for me - this is gonna be one tough weekend!!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

a day to celebrate

I'm Feeling: abundantly blessed
Background Noise: My Love is Your Love by Whitney Houston

Some people think birthdays aren't really a big deal. In a way, they're right - you haven't done anything to deserve presents on your birthday. But I do believe that there is a reason to celebrate the birthdays of people you love.

Twenty-nine years ago today, before I was even alive, my life changed forever. Mark William Burley was born at 4:44pm on March 3, 1976. Babies are born every single day, and the vast majority of them have little or no impact on our lives. But because a little boy came into our crazy world all those years ago - I am now living a life that gives me joy beyond my hopes and dreams. So today, I celebrate the birth of my husband and the journey of his life so far.

From the first conversation I had with Mark nearly six years ago - I have been captivated. Sometimes people with magnetic personalities can make those around feel unnoticed or unimportant - Mark has the ability to draw people to himself and make them feel valued simultaneously. His character is steadfast and he is deliberate and careful with his words and actions; he is at once silly and serious, relaxed and alert, playful and contemplative. Mark will allow you to tell stories he has heard a thousand times before, and enjoy the telling as much as he did the first time. His dreams are bigger than life and so is his heart - I am truly blessed to share my life with this man.

So here's to you, Burley. I cherish this day that brought me my beloved. Your birthday is reason to celebrate, and I wish you the happiest you could have.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

more birthdays!!

A great big Happy Birthday shout out to Scott Rider and Mike Ockrin (both 32 today)!!! You're loved and celebrated this day!!

ode to March

I'm Feeling: like a poet and I don't know it
Background Noise: Liquid by Jars of Clay

bright white snow floats down
while under
gray skies, covered by
the earth sleeps

liquid trickles through
earth as a chill white sun thaws
callous frozen ground

thin shrill bird song breaks
silence as green life nudges
up to meet blue skies

the best possible way to start your day...

I'm Feeling: cheerful
Background Noise: Sweet Potato Pie by James Taylor

This morning, I woke up to hear little voices chattering in the bedroom next to mine. One voice was using actual words, the other was simply baby babble. Kristen, her mom Linda, Timmy and Joshua made a surprise visit to our house last night. They were in Jackson, got semi-snowed in and wanted to crash in Mason as opposed to making it all the way back to Flushing. We were thrilled to have them stay!! Seriously - happy little kid noises are the best things to hear when you first wake up - how can that NOT make you smile??
To add to it, this morning while Timmy was eating his yogurt at our kitchen table, he told me I was doing a good job stirring my oatmeal, that he liked my white shirt, AND he helped me blow on my oatmeal to cool it down. If only every day could start out with such innocent and genuine encouragement!! It isn't very common to receive accolades from a 2-year-old for stirring your oatmeal, and it might sound a little weird to some of you - but it's awesome! :) And Joshua just walked around, smiling and hanging on to everyone he came across - he has such a happy spirit!
I love our house - and not just because it's pretty or has certain things in it... but because it allows to do things like we did last night. We had friends call us up, needing a place to stay, and we were able to give it to them, and comfortably. I had no idea what a blessing have a house would be! I absolutely love that we are able to use our house to provide for our friends and family - it's a real treat. What good would be to have a house and never share it??
Thanks to Kristen, Timothy, Joshua and Linda for making our night last night - Mark and I adore having people stay with us! And thanks for making my morning so ridiculously enjoyable (honestly, no one should be that happy to get out of bed on a Wednesday morning!)

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

the Ockrins are coming!!

Joshua (left) and Timmy (right) are coming to visit this weekend - how excited am I??? :) Mike and Kristen (their parents) are very good friends of ours, and we haven't seen them since November! (far too long). Joshua just turned 1, and recently began walking; Timmy is 2 1/2 and is basically a genius. He reads and spells and leaves us messages on our answering machine. They're both dolls, and I love them as much as I can love them without being their parent. I'm thrilled to see Mike and Kristen again, too - they're such encouraging, fun and loving people - the best type to have as friends. I'm looking forward to a weekend of relaxing, catching up on each others' lives, and making some more fantastic memories!

in like a lion....

I'm Feeling: a little under the weather
Background Noise: 'Day by Day' by Point of Grace

First off - a great big HaPpY BiRtHdAy shout out to my dAd! I'm glad the sun is shining for you in Chicagoland today!!

Officially, March 20 is the first day of spring. That's nineteen days away, and as I look out my window here in East Lansing, I can barely see the buildings down the street because of the swirling snow. The tree outside my window has about 4 inches piled on its biggest branches - granted, it's very pretty, but I don't see many signs of the upcoming season!