Saturday, May 27, 2006

Adventures in France

I am feeling: successful
Background Noise: two people whispering in French, and lots of "typing" sounds

First - I am typing on a French keyboard, which has bumped around a few letters. To give an idea, I will now type "My day was fun, I rode the train" without looking at the keys.. and I am a pretty good typist back in the States... ,y dqy zqs fun, I rode the trqin;
Not quite the same keyboard... please forgive any errors I overlook.

I did take the train to Carcassonne - about 1.5 hours away - to see the only fortified medeival town in Europe that is still inhabited. It was incredible... I will post pictures when I get home - a long, hot day - but very fun. I have been asked directions, conducted business transactions in French, and successfully visited another town on my own without getting lost, yelled at, robbed, or in any other way harmed (aside from a couple very pesky mosquito bites and a slightly pinker than usual nose).

Miss you all!!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bon Soir!!

I'm Feeling: a little jet-laggy
Background Noise: French gal sitting next to me, rapidly tapping on her keyboard as she IMs her friend

I'm here!! No pictures to post yet (not sure my camera will upload them onto these computers, not sure I want them to, and definitely don't have the brain power to try right now!)
After being in the Lansing, Grand Rapids, Cincinnati, Paris AND Montpellier airports in the last 24 hours - I finally made it to my destination. Aside from 3 hours sleep on the plane, I have not slept since about 7:30 Wednesday morning... and I feel surprisingly good. Tired, for sure, but proud of myself for not giving in to the nap temptation.

I've been downtown (it's a pretty city - lots of outdoor cafes, street vendors, parks, fountains, big old statues, crumbly buildings... very European), and around the surrounding area in a car a little bit - tomorrow will be my big day exploring. Hopefully, I'll be able to post once or twice more and keep you all (haha) updated on my fabulous adventures!!!

Here's to a good night's sleep!!

Monday, May 22, 2006


I'm Feeling: nervous
Background Noise: Spirit Thing by Newsboys

I couldn't fall asleep last night. Sometimes, when I'm all alone in the house (Mark is in Ypsilanti until Tuesday evening) I have a hard time going to bed - but in the past year or two, that hasn't been so much an issue. Last night, though... there was no settling down. Not for a long time, at least. I think my nerves are a little raw right now...

I leave on Wednesday - just over 50 hours from now, we'll be headed to the airport. Honestly, this is the nervous-est I've been about something in a loong time. Last night I felt compelled to pack - so I was running around, jamming things in my suitcase, taking them back out, trying to figure out how to economize my clothes, etc for 9 days. Eventually, I had to put myself "to bed" in front of the TV - that usually works. I'll watch for awhile, then cash out on the couch - wake up at about 2am and drag myself to bed. Hopefully I can sleep tonight.

I'm excited about my trip - and I know it will be so cool to spend 2.5 days by myself in Montpellier - then 5 days with everyone else... but right now, it's making my stomach hurt. Got to get my game face on. Grr.
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Friday, May 19, 2006

ready, set...

I'm Feeling: anticipatory
Background Noise: Hands of the Potter by Caedmon's Call

Got a big weekend coming up, folks - a big weekend. Tigers game tonight (they're no Chicago White Sox - I have to stay loyal to my hometown - but I've adopted them all the same). Tomorrow - we head to Plymouth (near Ann Arbor) for our nephew's baptism and 3rd birthday party, then back to Mason for Mike's high school graduation open house, then out to Kentwood (near Grand Rapids) for Brooks's college graduation open house... then back home in Mason. That's going to be a doozey!! Sunday is church, possibly a confirmation party, and a dance recital. Sounds fabulous.

Last night we went to small group at JR and Tricia's house - we're trying to re-connect with a couples' bible study group/community. YoungLife has been SOOO good to us, and keeps us really busy, but I like having friends/community that are in my same life "stage." It's hard being new - everyone was really nice, and I know that in a few months - year, we could all be fantastically close friends... but it sure would still be nice to just skip the awkward, slow, getting-to-know-and-trust-you stage. Insta-friends... just add water!! :)

Have a wonderful weekend - I hope that it's packed with people and things that you love - remember to focus on the moment - tomorrow has enough worries of its own!!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

a fun way to waste time

1)What are the top 5 tv shows that you're currently really into, in the order of your obsession?
1. Friends DVDs
2. Gilmore Girls DVDs (I stopped watching this year because it got weird)
3. Other than that, I really don't watch TV. I'm lame that way.

2) What movies are you looking forward to seeing this year?
Mmmm... I want to see X3 because mutants are cool.

3) What bands do you think everyone should at least check out?

* Matt Kearney
* Matt Wertz
* Dashboard Confessional
* Caedmon's Call
* PW Gopal

4) Top 3 things that really irritate you and why.

1. People who try to tell better stories than everyone else - no matter what, they've done it better, seen more things, had it worse... blah blah. Just let people tell their own stories!

2. People who wander around expecting everyone else to do it for them. A little self-motivation goes a long way!

3. Mean people. Do I really need to explain why?

5) Name a few foods most people think are weird but which you actually like.

* Sushi - yay California Rolls!
* That's it.

6) Have you ever had a psychic or paranormal (or, even, surreal) experience? If so, describe it.
Erm - not exactly sure. I've had experiences when I could feel God's presence - but they're really not "gawk-at-the-weirdness-of-it-all" kinds of stories.

7) What fictional corporation would you work for if you could (for example, Luthor Corp., Hanso Foundation, etc.)
Um... I'd be head of marketing for Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory - except without the Oompa Loompas (those little guys scare me).

8) What book should I read next and why?
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. Because I read it in like 24 hours, couldn't put it down. Loved it. And because it's applicable to almost anyone/anything.

9) What super power (or mutant ability) would you want to have and why - also, would you use it for good or evil?
I'd want to be able to control people's minds or move things with my mind. Totally for good - although sometimes, I'm sure I'd use it for "selfish" - not necessarily good OR evil. Just for me.

10) Favorite brand/type of chocolate or chocolate candy.
I don't eat much chocolate/candy - but I can't handle myself around the Reese's Peanut Butter Easter Eggs.

i'm not nervous...

I'm Feeling: like skipping out of my last 55 minutes of work
Background Noise: Don't Let Me Get Me by Pink

I leave for France a week from tomorrow - plans are starting to materialize, budgets being set (I'm going on a grant that pays for the whole trip, but I do have to tell them where their money is being spent. Go figure). Kate is starting to be real nervous. Seems a little infantile to me, but getting on a plane by myself and ending up in a country where people speak French instead of English makes me nervous. I feel like I'm going to get lost, mugged, have my wallet stolen, or some other horrible something that will reinforce my notion that I am incapable of foreign travel on my own. But really - it will all probably go just fine, and I'll come back feeling all proud and accomplished (what a big girl!)

What bums me out right now is that being nervous is eclipsing my excitement. I should be excited. Not sweaty. Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 15, 2006

rain, rain, go away...

I'm Feeling: a little water-logged
Background Noise: Accentuate the Positive by Johnny Mercer

Ok - those that know me know that I'm not one to whine about rain - I like rainy days and I like thunderstorms... but it's been 4 days straight now, and I'd like to see Mr. Sun come out again. Everything is VERY green, but I'm pretty sure I remember from 3rd grade science class that plants and trees also need sunshine in order to grow. Begone, clouds!!

Had a pretty fun weekend - went to the 'Buck with Katie Friday night (we can seriously sit there for HOURS), went to Courtney's birthday party Saturday night (she just turned 13), made banana bread, and got to spend some time with Mark's family yesterday. All - in - all, fairly productive and fun.

Random update on Kate's life: I'm rebelling against laundry. Usually, I'm pretty good at getting things done that need to get done, even if they're not my favorite things to do. Lately, I have NO ambition to do laundry at all, so I haven't. I'll put it in the washer, even move it to the dryer, but there I stop. I won't take it out, won't fold it, and won't put it away. I wonder what's up with that, and when it will wear off... it makes our house a little messier than usual... :)
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Friday, May 12, 2006

lookout for the haboob!

I'm Feeling: lonely for some sunshine
Background Noise: Hit the Road to Dreamland by Betty Hutton

I have a desk calendar that quotes excerpts from the book The Know-It-All (if you haven't read it, it's a pretty hilarious memoir of a guy who read the entire Encyclopaedia Brittanica straight through). Yesterday, it was a quote about haboobs. (pictured left - it's a big sandstorm-wall of sand thing) I like that word - although I don't think it instills the appropriate fear. It made me chuckle all day - just to look over and see the word "haboob" sitting on my desk. It's the little things....

Tonight is the last structured WyldLife event for the school year - it's not sad, but I know I will miss seeing the kids so regularly. It just means we'll have to make more of a concentrated effort to hang out together over the summer. The unfortunate thing is that we've planned an outdoor event at a local park - and it's currently raining and 39 degrees. We'd better bundle up for this evening!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

where'd whooo goooo...?

I'm Feeling: like I'm thinking too much
Background Noise: Simply Trust by Cross-eyed

Ever wish you could be a chameleon? I think it would be cool to be able to blend into your environment, just hang out and have no one really notice you. I wouldn't necessarily want to spy on people, but just to be able to occasionally disappear. Every once in awhile, when I get really busy or my brain goes on overdrive, I wish I could be a chameleon. Felt that way today a little bit.

Visited the fam in Chicago this weekend, which was nice. We celebrated Mom and Dad's 50th birthdays, and ate WAY too much food. Mark and I both had the day off on Monday, which was fabulous - we got to visit the middle school, work in the yard, get a ton of stuff done - and we got to hang out together. Gotta love it.

School is over, but grades are being posted, and summer school is starting, so things are still busy - although nowhere near the past month or two. I'm enjoying the relative quietness of my office, and campus is just lovely this time of year.

That's all from this front - I'll try to have a good story for you tomorrow!! Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 05, 2006

pomp and circumstance

I'm Feeling: anticipation!
Background Noise: Uptown Girl by Billy Joel

Campus is currently being invaded by moms, dads, aunts, uncles, and grandparents - armed with flowers and cameras, dragging their MSU graduates to Sparty, the Stadium, and other picturesque locations, trying to capture this momentous occasion on film. It's graduation time!!

Graduation is a fabulous time on campus (while the actual ceremonies are themselves fairly dull occurrences... ) - people are excited, nervous, proud... it's a snapshot of human emotion. And I am lucky enough to witness that snapshot, beginning at 8am tomorrow morning... at the College of Social Science commencement ceremony. It should be cool - one of my students is the student speaker, and I know a lot more people this year than I did last year. But it's awfully stinking early on a Saturday morning.

Then it's home to Bolingbrook to celebrate Mom and Dad's 50th birthdays - out to eat, and then dessert and presents. I'm excited/nervous - I think they'll really like their presents, but you never know.

Enjoy your weekend - and congrats to all the new grads!!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

never too old!

I'm Feeling: better than yesterday!!
Background Noise: Ring of Fire, performed by Joaquin Phoenix

After hiding out Monday night and all day Tuesday (Katie stayed home sick and slept her hours away - I felt like a lazy blob, but at least I'm healthier than I was!!), I started my day off right with Lucky Charms this morning. Who says dried marshmallows in cereal isn't for adults??

Work's good today - still amazingly busy for finals week - students are usually holed up studying hard at this point... I had a frustrating altercation this morning though. MSU's policy on final exams states that no student should have to take more than 2 finals in one day - and if 3 or more are scheduled, they have permission to get one moved. Long story short, a Journalism major was trying to get her Political Science professor to allow her to take her exam later this week, and he refused. I even offered to proctor the exam for him, so he wouldn't have to do anything extra at all. He stared right at this poor, stressed out sophomore, who was basically begging for a favor, and said no. Who does that?? The gal left our floor in tears - off to try to study for her remaining two finals - which, I forgot to mention - are TODAY!! Granted, there was some poor planning on her part, but I just don't see why it's such an inconvenience to help students out when they need it. Said Professor would not even have a job if there weren't any students here at MSU.

Rant complete - I just get bummed out when something/someone else is preventing me from being able to help a student. Isn't that a huge part of what we're here for?

Monday, May 01, 2006

i'll just take half...

I'm Feeling: like I'm hanging on til I can take a break
Background Noise: Building a Mystery by Sarah McLachlan

Sometimes it's fun to cut things in half. Half-dollars are cool, because they're bigger than the average coin. Half-price sales are awesome because you can spend the same amount of money but get twice as much stuff. And half-birthdays are exciting when you work with people who think that's a good reason to head out to the Olive Garden for lunch AND bake a chocolate cake for you! That's what happened to me today, in case you were wondering. Jane, Kay, Jen and I eat lunch together fairly often (I'm the youngest of this group by about 18 years), and we realized a few weeks ago that we never went out for my birthday back in October (I hadn't noticed). Our remedy, which was met with wild approval, is to start celebrating half-birthdays in addition to "whole" birthdays. We get to eat out more often, and it means more cake, too. Everyone wins!

This weekend was great - exhausting, exciting, busy, funny, moving - the HOSA State Conference is always a fun time. I like the pace, the people - and it makes me puff up all proud when I watch my husband work so hard. He does an amazing job - the teachers and students really look up to him and appreciate his hard work and energy. It's cool to see people appreciate the same things you do in someone you love.

Back to work today - this is finals week at MSU, so I just gotta hang on for a few more days, and my office will become dramatically emptier. I'll be bored after a day or two, but right, it sounds heavenly.
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