Sunday, January 30, 2011

Winter with my love

Poor Richard III, always so discontent with winter! He just needed to get himself a true love (and perhaps try not to kill his wives...). Okay, the extended metaphor isn't that great, but I have found that I like the snow and cold a little more thanks to my husband. :)

Here's what he wrote on my car during our first big snowstorm of January:

I heart U
As part of our New Year's resolutions as a family, we decided to go on two (planned) dates a month--one planned by Adam and one planned by me. [We're lucky that we get to go on mini-dates quite a bit (perk of no-kids!!), but these planned dates are different and wholly planned by ONE person rather than a shared "whaddaya wanna do?".] Earlier this month, Adam took me to see "Tangled" and then we had desserts and drinks at Ruby Tuesdays. Yum!Yum!

But now it was my turn to plan the date! And I hate planning dates because I'm always scared that I won't choose the best thing. However, with my husband, I should know that he'll be happy with whatever I chose! I'm one lucky lady.

First: We took the obligatory "as we are about to leave" picture.

It's like a friendly Man-in-Black and (lady) Jacob picture.

Next: Lunch at a Mexican place that we hadn't tried yet. Adam is very particular about queso and is constantly on the lookout for the perfect Mexican place (living in San Antonio gave him very high expectations on that count!), and Dona Rosa did have some great queso.

Adam with a Last Supper carving behind him....intersante!

The carving in front of our was very cool, and I wish I could have taken a better picture of it.

Step Three: Ply with wine. We went to a wine tasting at a new winery (Bluestone Vineyard) only about 20 minutes from our house. It had opened just 16 days beforehand, and we had a free tasting with the son of the owner (who also made the wines). It was a nice time, and we even found a couple of bottles that we liked!

The beautiful winery--brand new!

Me, in white, with the young vines behind me...

Adam + winter vines = reminds me of our wedding!

Happy couple shot!

Finally: A family walk in the Arboretum. It doesn't get better than crisp snow, gorgeous trees, a handsome hubby, and sweet dog. :)
crazy family shot

Ollie and I

Adam in nature
I'm Waldo amongst the snow!
Daddy and Oliver

I look like a Bond villainess or a sniper or somebody dangerous
Say Cheese!
pretty trees
That snowball better not be aimed at me!
Oliver is high-stepping it!
A nice end to our lovely date!

We had a wonderful time!! :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Half of a Snowball

A half of a snowball doesn't make sense. Neither does half of a snowball fight. When you talk snow, you've got to give it your all!

That's a wacky introduction to my current displeasure: when it comes to snow, JMU goes half-day all the time. I'm okay with tempering a reaction to snow; I grew up in Indiana, where if we got 3 inches overnight, there might be a 2-h delay. And, despite living in Maryland and Alabama (where people, understandably, get a little freaked out by snow and where they don't have adequate snow removal systems), I don't think that school/work should be cancelled for a bit of snow (when the roads are okay).

During this winter, though, JMU's cancellation/delay system has been grating on my nerves. After an evening of snow, they'll post an hour delay (while all other school systems have 3-h delays or have cancelled). Today, there was a bunch of ice by 6 a.m. and a huge winter storm was moving in. Based on the ice and the incoming storm (due to hit at noon), all school systems (elementary, secondary, college) cancelled classes....except for JMU!

I went to the Arboretum for work, and sleet/ice started coming down at 11 a.m. Around noon, the snow started falling, rather thickly. By 1 p.m., my coworker and I were pretty concerned. The Arboretum's groundskeepers had been at a conference, so no one else had salted our parking lot. To drive out of the parking lot, you have to go up a steeply graded curve, and we were concerned that, with more snow, we would be stranded. However, my coworker told me to head home (and she got home safely too!) at 1:15 p.m. A few minutes after I left, JMU finally gave the cancellation call--the university would close at 2:15 p.m. But it was already too little, much too late.

When I pulled out of the Arboretum (only one fishtail--yay!), I went in the opposite direction than normal because of the wreck that had already occurred. I could see the wreck (it was on the north side of the Arboretum), so I thought I'd be smart. Bad choice. I drove for about 30 seconds when I saw a car at the bottom of a 15-ft ditch (driver was unhurt). The Arboretum is on the edge of JMU's campus, and there's really only one street that allows people on that side of campus to reach the main roads. I was trapped on this slippery road, along with the half of campus that had just read the cancellation announcement, seen how wretched the roads were, and headed out to get home. I turned around and went my usual direction. My entire drive home (which usually takes 10 minutes) took 45 minutes and I passed several other wrecks (no one looked hurt). But the roads were absolutely shoddy, and JMU waited too darn long to call a cancellation.

Also, when I was nearly home, going up one of the big hills in our neighborhood, I noticed the front car was slipping and sliding. There were four cars in front of me, and the first car ended up just stopping; it's wheels couldn't get any traction and it couldn't move. After about 20 second, the two guys in the 3rd and 4th car got out and went up to push. They still were struggling after about 30 seconds, so I got out and helped with the far right side of the vehicle. It worked---but not without a major casualty: my jeans got sleet, ice, grime, etc spackled onto them. And I don't even know who the driver was that I helped! Anyway, I was a bit upset that driver #2 (a young male) didn't try to help...but whatever.

Adam had to also go on several detours, but (with a little luck) he also got home safely. It's been snowing steadily since noon and should continue until midnight. I'm REALLY hoping for a full-length snow day tomorrow (even though I'll have to move things around on my syllabus). However, I'm pretty darn sure that JMU is going to one-hour delay me or not even have a delay. Prove me wrong, JMU; prove me wrong!!!

Full snow day, please????

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I'm an Aunt...Again!

My first sweet niece was born on January 13th! Her name is Eva Claire Bull and, though I don't have any pictures of my own of her yet, I have been able to share some of my sister's pics via Facebook. :) I have to say, completely biased of course, that she's GORGEOUS! And, with my adorable godson and nephew Ethan, well, there's nothing better in the world!

I think everyone probably has one crazy aunt (except for me...I just have 3 wildly fun aunts), and I know I was probably always destined to be "that" crazy aunt. Crazy Aunt Cathy...a weird, Shakespeare/Harry Potter-obsessed creature who adores her dog and overthinks just about everything. Oh well! I'm happy being that aunt.

However, all this baby talk (along with a lot of my friends announcing or being pregnant or having children) does make me wonder whether I'm just aunt material now or whether I might be a mommy myself. I know that, for some women, this is a simple question to answer, and I have to admit that I'm jealous of those lovely ladies who know they'll be fantastic moms.

But I'm a little scared:
  • I'm not that creative of a cook (and when I do get creative, something usually goes wrong!);
  • I reach for wit and logic when dealing with unruly children (I blame that on the college students I teach--who respond better to such tactics rather than goopy sentimentalism);
  • my little dog Oliver is already basically the perfect child (I can leave him for several hours with no accidents, problems, or child-services phone call; he eats and goes to the bathroom when I tell him; he very rarely wakes me up in the middle of the night);
  • I like to sleep and recover my strength when I feel weak (which has happened more recently);
  • I still feel a little too young to have kids (which I know sounds weird since I'm 31...but I've only been free from school for one year);
  • I might be too self-consumed (this worry always crops up when I spend time reading, relaxing, etc and find myself liking time with that weird? Plus, look at all the times I just said "I"!!).

However, the most pressing concern is that I still feel undecided in my profession. After leaving the Ph.D. program, I gained several part-time jobs, and I love my work! However, I feel like I'm skipping around, doing a lot of work without much focus. I always thought that I would have a full-time job before I became a mom and, since still wonder if I might/could/should/want to go back to school sometimes, I suppose I'm just confused. And I don't know if a confused mom is the best thing...

I do have the best helpers in the world: the best husband in the world who will easily be a brilliant, fantastic, amazing father; my own parents who showed me just how wonderful parents can be; and caring, funny family and friends. And I do want to be a mom someday! Even with all that, though, I worry about my abilities as a mother and as a person. I've been told that I overthink everything too much. Hmm, maybe this post proves that?

Anyway, I'm glad to be an aunt (twice!). :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

no cute title, just info

I'm quite sorry for my lapse in blogging. There was a situation that worried me for quite a while, and I didn't feel the need to chatter about holidays, resolutions, etc while this worry was hovering over me. Luckily, I *think* the situation has resolved itself. Suffice it to say, I love my dog and I'm so happy that he is just as he is. He's my sweet prince!

Okay, but on to wonderful remembrances: After a fantastic Christmas in Fort Wayne, Adam and I drove to Alabama and celebrated Christmas down there. :) Adam's brother and sisters, and their spouses, came in throughout the week after Christmas. So it was fun to always have new people to play games with and just to relax and hang out. We ended up having Christmas on the 30th...and it was weirdly fun to keep thinking "I still have Christmas presents to break seems so long!" We also saw his little cousins make some gorgeous gingerbread houses at Adam's grandma's house; it's a really sweet tradition that the Butler/Copeland women do to care for their Spivey grandchildren/nieces/cousins.

Of course, we also got to watch the mad smack-down that was Alabama football! Take that, Big Ten! I am sad, though, that it was apparently Julio's, Ingram's, and Barron's final game. :( Sad, sad....but Richardson is going to be a BEAST next year...and I'm oddly excited to start the tally of how many times Nick will smack the new QB (McClarran?) on the bottom. Hey, it's the little things in life.

On January 2nd, Adam and I drove back to Virginia. We were incredibly lucky through the whole holiday season that we didn't run into bad weather. Thank goodness! And, wow, when we got back it was SO WONDERFUL to realize that we didn't have any more 9- or 10-h trips in the near future. :)

Last week, Adam went to work, and I worked a bit at the Arboretum, finished making and copying my syllabi, and took down the Christmas decorations. It's always so sad to take down the decorations; it's like the world is taking pleasure in saying "It's cold for NO REASON now! And no presents! And you have to work again!!" Oh well, I suppose I just need a winter house in Australia or Brazil or someplace nice in the southern hemisphere.

Anyway, class have started at JMU, and I'm quite liking my students already. And, of course the real reason I'm writing this blog has already reared it's ugly head: They did some draft writing in class and now I have to start grading, commenting, etc....i.e read: procrastinating on grading commenting, etc. However, I'm so thankful to be teaching three wonderful classes and to be doing some fun stuff this semester at the Arboretum. A lot of fun things to do in the next few months! Let's just hope the weather warms up so I can enjoy it all while NOT dressed like an Eskimo.