I just had a crying spell in the bathroom at work. I miss my grandma. I recall her beautiful skin. It was like porcelain, smooth and soft. The last time I visited her she was in the hospital, confined to a bed. I applied lotion to her legs and feet. I was as gentle as I could be. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the lightness of my touch. I rubbed the lotion in thoroughly, taking extra care. I am pleased to have this memory. I miss her. I wish I had taken care of her more in her last days. Instead my aunt (theyoungesttree.blogspot.com) was her sole caretaker. The weight of this task was too much for my aunt and toward the end, she and my grandma had a fight. Now my aunt is tormented by the words that were exchanged. I feel partly responsible... I wish I could have relieved my aunt's burden as well as spent more time with my grandma.


I am a teacher!
I taught my first class last night. I loved it. The students were awesome. I have a full class of 20 with three on the waiting list. The computer lab was hot and stuffy from all the humming machines and close bodies. I sat on a high stool and tapped around with the laser mouse as the students watched the projected screen behind me. The class goes from 6:30 to 9:00 on Tuesdays. I was not able to eat beforehand because of nervous butterflies in my stomach. Once I began talking to them, I was fine. I didn't feel hungry until I was driving away from campus.

I am teaching at the university I attended several years ago. Being back on campus is strange and wonderful. I miss the late nights, backpacks, coed circles of friends, cafeteria conversations, and singing A Mighty Fortress Is Our God in chapel. Each day of my four years at this place was full of awe for me. I am grateful beyond words for the experiences. As I walked around campus last night after my class I took in the trees, the grass, the buildings, the sidewalks, the benches, and the paths. Each thing I saw held multiple memories. Students called out to one another, "Hey! There you are! Come join us!" Is it the first week of classes. They are all still meeting each other. I felt like Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society when he shows the boys the pictures in the foyer and tells them about "Carpe Diem." I wanted to tell the students the same thing. "Soak this up! Life will never be sweeter than this."


Back to normal life.
The past week was full of highs and lows. My closest friend from college visited from Ecuador. She's a missionary down there. She came for a surprise visit. It was a short one... only 2 days. We had a blast reconnecting. The lows of the week revolved around my grandma's passing away. I went to Texas for the funeral. My hubby joined me, but only for one day. I stayed for 4 days and enjoyed spending time with my six year old cousin, T. We've had a special connection since she was a baby. Every time we're together I wish she was mine. This visit we made a trip to a hair salon and got her hair cut. Her mother had whacked it off because of lice... beautiful blond hair butchered into stairsteps down the back of her head. And just when school starts, no less. The Penny's hair dresser was able to smooth it out. We bought girlie clips and fingernail polish on the way home.

The funeral was hard for me. I don't understand open caskets. Can someone explian to me why the older generations like it that way? If I could have been alone in the room with my grandma's body, I would have liked to talk to her and to cry my eyes out. But as it was, I made small talk with relatives as well as did my best to act light-hearted for T's sake. (Her dad brought her to the funeral despite advice not to. T's 4 year old brother was also there... running around like it was a fast food playground. Don't get me started.)

Now I'm home and back to work. I have an ear infection. I haven't had one since I was a baby. The doctor says the combination of allergy fluid and flying caused an infection. It's as if someone is jamming a pencil in my ear every few seconds. I cannot sleep well and I'm unable to hear. My own voice booms in my head when I talk.

And the other thing on my mind is the class I am teaching. My first class is tomorrow. I'm fuzzy-brained and not sure what I'll cover. I have a list of students... how will I ever remember twenty names? Three of them are named Rachel. That's what happens at Christian schools.

Sorry to moan and groan so much. I'm feeling overwhelmed and sad.
I miss my Ecuador friend and my grandma.


This has been the most emotional afternoon I've had in months. Ususally emotional Sunday afternoons hit me for no particular reason. Today there is a reason. There is more than one reason, in fact. The first, my grandma died last night. She has been fighting cancer for 8 months. She was on the phone with my aunt when she passed away. Chad and I will fly to Houston for the funeral and family gathering this coming week.

She is with my grandpa now. He died about 10 years ago. The fact that they're both gone is weird to me. I never lived in the same town as them, but I spent many holidays in their cute red brick two story home. Now it will be sold. I hope a happy young family buys it.

I will try to post thoughts and happenings with my new laptop on the trip.
Love you all....


Saturday morning. I love weekends. The day ahead is planned with multiple favorites. A trip to the best coffee shop around for a perfect bittersweet mocha with nutmeg on top, a stroll around the farmers market on, a visit to a new thirft store that is rumored to have namebrand stuff for pennies, and perhaps a trip to the annual Grape Festival in none other than Tontitown, Arkansas.

Tontitown is a neighboring Italian community. How Italians ended up in Arkansas is a mystery to me. There are several long established Italian restaurants on the main drag of T-town. I've never understood how it can be popular to sell fried chicken and spaghetti on the same plate, but it is an everyday occurance in this place. These are not the type of Italian resturants for litte black dresses or anniversary celebrations or candlelit dinners. On the contrary. This is the kind of place where oversized men wear overalls without a shirt underneath and feel free to belch loudly mid-meal. (I hate that word, but "burp" just doesn't do justice.)

But back to the Grape Festival. I love fair food. Corndogs, funnel cake, real lemonade, snow cones. Mmm, mmm. This festival also features grape ice cream. It tastes and smells like grape Bubble Yum gum. I have not decided if I like it. I do not ride the rides at fairs like the Grape Festival. Something about the fact that the rides were assembled the day before out of a semi trailor is unsettling to me. Plus, if the people running the rides are the ones who assembled them...yikes and no thank you. I don't usually play the games either. None of the stuffed animals are cute, although I think it would be fun if my man won something for me. (It is an unmet dream from high school.) Occasionally I will play the quarter game. It's the one where you drop quarters or tokens onto a platform while a bar pushes the pile of treasure incredibly close to the edge. If anything falls over the edge, it's yours. I've played this game multiple times, and nothing has ever fallen over the edge. Blasted rigged contraption.

If one looks for it, she will always find an older couple with a little kitchen/trailer combo at these fairs. They sell gyros, fried twinkies, turkey legs, cotton candy... I wonder if those couples are living our their dreams in that little trailer. Part of me thinks it would be fun to travel from town to town, selling junk to people happy to pay $4 for a corndog. Sometimes I husband and I dream about traveling the country in a motor home. A little one that I could drive. Maybe we'd have a motorcycle on a trailer behind it... a Honda Goldwing perhaps.

Well, I'm off to start this day.


Well, here I am using my new Powerbook. My good friend M sold it to me. He's a digital media guru, not a measly designer like me, so he's ready to upgrade... it's nice having friends on the cutting edge of technology. The keyboard and little mouse square are hard to get use to...

Now it's time to start preparing for the class. NO MORE PROCRASTINATING.
Today our couple friends are arriving for a weekend visit. These are two people that both my husband and myself get along with well. We went to college with them and we've gone on multiple vacations together. We feel the same way on most issues and we're able to rant & rave about the things we disagree on. We trust them. We are comfortable with them. I feel cool with them. I feel liked. Not judged. Included and valued. I am thankful for them and I'm looking forward to spending two days in their presence. Bring on the fun!!

Thank goodness for Fridays.
Have a good weekend everyone. :)


New York City. Chicago. San Fransisco.
I wish I were in a big city today. I'd wear blue lipstick. I'd get my nose pierced with a tiny blue saphire. No one would notice. No one would care. Autonomy. To be invisible. Unnoticed. Surrounded by people, but left alone. These are appealing to me today.

Last night I wanted to get away. I went to Barnes and Noble. My goal was to forget I was in northwest Arkansas. I wrote in my coffee stained, ragged journal. The cloth cover was beautiful and crisp when the pages were blank. I like how worn it has become. I didn't want my time to end at B&N. I wanted to stay indefinitely, but as 10:00 rolled around I headed to my car. The parking lot was humid and still. The moon was golden with hazy clouds passing over it.

Here I am at work again...
I can look out the window and see a meadow, a winding fence, two large pine trees, green grass, and a distant horizon of trees. The scene usually soothes me, but today I feel trapped. I'd rather be in New York. Anyone wanna run away with me?


What makes a good wife?

Being skinny?
Being a good cook?
Not nagging?
Fixing my hair?
Listening well?
Giving backrubs?
Mowing the yard?

Over the weekend we were at the InLaws house. I discovered a row of picture albums. I poured over the faded square pictures with rounded corners. Shag carpet and mini skirts to big hair and acidwash jeans. A youthful skinny couple in love to frazzled parents of four little kids. I drank in the pictures of my husband as a newborn baby. His perfect little baby body made me long for a baby of our own. Will our babies look like he did?

The pictures have stuck with me. We are in the very beginning of our life together. We've been married less than three years. I have confidence that we'll remain together, but will we stay happy? I want to be a good wife to him. The best. I want to make him the happiest man in the world. Like on our honeymoon when he whistled everything to the Bob Marley song, "I WANNA LOVE YOU AND TREAT YOU RIGHT."

The routine of life scares me. The 8 to 5 job scene creates a scripted conversation.
"How was your day?"
"Pretty good. How was yours?"
"Oh, the same."
"What should we do for dinner?"
"I wanna eat out."
"Me too. We should have leftovers."

How do we keep the mundane interesting?


I expereienced my first panic attack this week. It began at 9:00pm as was laying in bed wide awake next to my sleeping husband. I am slated to teach a college software class this fall semester.

I begin to picture myself in front of the classroom. Fifteen students staring at me. Eighteen year old boys muttering to each other, "She has no idea what she's doing. I know these programs better than she does. What a waste."

I try to breath slowly, but my heart keeps racing. Faster and faster. I can feel it pounding in my chest. I flip over. I flip over again. Back and forth. Back and forth. I silently tell myself, "You HAVE to think about something else."

I think about babies. I think about my friend's crazy yellow lab. I think about my job. I remember how clueless I was as a freshman in my software classes. I tell myself, "The students will be a clueless as I was. They won't know anything." I see myself in front of the classroom again. The students are staring at me. Brainy boys laugh as I fumble to answer simple questions, "She has no idea. I cannot believe I'm paying for this."

What happened to the good thoughts?!

I retreat to the living room and escape into the world of fiction until my heart stops racing and my eyes grow heavy. I return to bed near midnight and finally fall asleep. Now I know what a panic attack is.


Let's take a test.
Cold pizza for breakfast is:

1. Breakfast of champions
2. Disgusting
3. So-so

This morning on my way out the door I grabbed a piece of leftover Pizza Hut pizza. (Veggie Delight with stuffed crust.) As soon as my husband saw the pizza in my hand he freaked out.

"You're going to eat that for breakfast??!! Gross!"

My instant reaction was,
"Don't think I'm gross! I'm not gross."

As the his pizza bashing banter continued my reaction changed.
"You're the one who is weird! Tons of people eat pizza for breakfast. COLD pizza. It's really good. Have you even tried it?"

As I drove away from the house I temporarily lost my appetite. Our little discussion got me thinking, "Am I gross?" Then I realized how silly that is. I simply LIKE pizza. That's all. I eyed the pizza, sitting on a napkin on the passenger seat. I smiled, picked it up, and took a bite. Mmm. It was perfect. Even better than last night at the restuarant, piping hot. By the time I was half-way through the piece I began craving a coke. I stopped at the gas station on the corner and bought myself a 20 ounce Coca-Cola Classic.

45 minutes later, here I sit at work. I am happy. This happiness is due to a few factors:

1. I enjoyed the drive to work with my car-pooling/coworker/friend.
2. The caffiene from my coke is kicking in.
3. It is almost the weekend (I've always like Thursdays for this reason).
4. Lunch will be free today.


Red fingernails.
Revlon Red to be precise.

I rarely paint my fingernails. Recently I found out my husband likes crazy bright fingernails. I am a comfort/convenience freak. I sleep in the same worn t-shirt every night because of it's softness. My nails are usually short and chipped. (Although they grow like weeds.) When Chad made the comment about bright funky fingernails I thought, "It it time for me to pay more attention to how I look." I got manicure for my birthday. My nails are shaped and pretty for the first time in ages. I had them use a bright lavender polish. Two days later it was chipped and peeling due to my cooking blitz on Sunday. While shopping for groceries I steered the cart the cosmetic department. I found the brightest red available. Revlon Red, baby! I'm surprised at the outcome... I like it! Chad loves it too. Now he wants me to get a mini-skirt. This could get interesting.


Sometimes I get scared because time goes by so quickly.
I think, "Stop! Wait! I want to savor life. I need more years. More time for everything."

Other times I am exhausted by life.

Tired out by constantly caring about how I look. My hair. My stomach. My skin. And Tired of battling with Chad. "Why can't you understand me? Why can't you get me flowers for no reason? Why can't you be serious when I'm serious?"

I see elderly couples still in love. Sitting on a bench together with paper cups of coffee. Holding hands despite arthritis and wrinkles. Old men carrying the purse for their lady. Stripped down of pride, pretense, hypocrisy, busyness. When I see this kind of love I long for it. I want to be beautiful and lovely on the inside like these old people.

How do we get there now? How do we possess that peace, patience, brokeness, acceptance these old people have? Do we have to wait 40 years?


I like to cook. Sundays have become my cooking day.

Yesterday I made two things. Creamy Chicken Casserole and Chinese Chicken Salad. The salad was a HUGE success. I could eat it all day long. It consist of a variety of toasted nuts, crunchy ramen noodles, lots of cabbage, olive oil, vinegar, sugar, ramen spice packet, etc. The combinations are just perfect.

The chicken casserole on the other hand didn't end up being a favorite. It was my first time to make it. It got the recipe from my Taste of Home Ouick Cooking magazine. (Compliments of my mother-in-law.) The problem with most of their recipes is that they are TOO simple. The finished product usually reminds me of Hamburger Helper. (No offense to any H.H. lovers out there.) I just prefer less processed options. Unless we're talking about fast food. I LOVE McDonalds. Just ask Ellen.

Someday soon I hope to add a recipe link to my blog and share my favorites with you. The Chinese Chicken Salad will be at the TOP of the list! :)


My husband and I went for a motorcycle ride last night. It was our first time to ride all summer. His motorcycle is an 1983 Honda Askot, otherwise known as Crusty. He bought in college for $300. We went exploring.

THE GOAL -- to find the lake.

There is a lake near our house that we keep hearing about. We ventured east. I held on tight. I could tell Chad wasn't as confident with his driving since it had been so long. This made me a little nervous. Usually I don't have to worry... I'm married to the MOST cautious man in the world. We ended up on a well-paved windy country road. Woods, custom homes, deer, sunset clouds, new scenery. The cool air filled my lungs as we dipped into the valleys of the road.

I found my dream home... a bungalow with a porch, a red tin roof, and lots of windows showing yellow glowy light. I squealed with delight and yelled through my helmet, "Look at that house!!! I love that house!" Chad didn't answer because he was concentrating on driving.

We never found the lake, but it was a successful trip.


I am one inch taller than my husband. In high school and college I often said, "I would never marry someone shorter than me." Then I fell in love with Chad. We would have started dating a year earlier if the height thing hadn't existed. We didn't verbalize this fact at the time, but after we hooked up, it came out. We were both attracted to each other for the longest time, but were scared the height thing might make stuff uncomfortable.

The first time we held hands was awkward. I thought to myself, "We don't fit. His hand is too low." I swallowed these thoughts down and focused on his green eyes. It worked. After two years of marriage there are things I love about our heights. We don't get neck aches when we kiss. When we wrestle I have a chance. But sometimes it hits me again and I'm disappointed. When I see the 'ideal' couple in public... a guy with his arm slung across a girl's shoulders. Or when I stand next to a tall man and I feel petite in his shadow. I like that feeling. I get tired of feeling large, big, lumbering, German, etc. The fact that I've always been on the clumsy side doesn't help matters. There are the tall graceful types and then there are the tall cumbersome types. I'm the latter. My feet find things to trip over. My hands contantly attempt to 'save' objects tumbling to the ground. I find random bruises frequently.

My worst fear is that our unborn children will grow up to be shorter than me...
and that I'll end up being the tallest one in the entire family.