Sunday, March 30, 2014

Planes, Automobiles And The Bouncy Ball Project

Spring break finally got here.  Finally, finally. Finally!! I wrapped up my classes and turned in grades.  I'm a little afraid to check my work email because when you have 103 students, someone is going to be unhappy. Mostly, though, the students did a great job. I also finished up a round of prednisone to help my lungs recuperate after a three week bout of upper respiratory infections. I was pretty sure that after this, I'd be looking what might be called "un-slim" in my photographs.  What the hell. I'm more than my body. At least I was feeling better. That doesn't mean you're going to see a lot of pictures OF ME from this trip.

I had a plane to catch and some logistics to work out before our Monday flight out to Louisiana to visit my in-laws.  G and I watch a show called "The Walking Dead".  Last week was the penultimate episode. The last one is tonight and we knew that if we didn't see the episode, it would be likely that we'd come across a spoiler on social media. So we stayed up until midnight and watched it.  Totally worth it.

We hauled our luggage to the local stop, hopped a bus to Seattle, caught a plane to Dallas and then Shreveport, and then rented a car to get around.  All told, we spent from about 8 a.m. until about midnight in transport.  And yes, I agreed to go visit my in-laws. I like them. They are fun, including my husband's grandma, my mother and father in law, my sister in law, Stashia, and niece (who we call Ladybug on the 'net). We haven't seen them in 18 months and hadn't met Ladybug yet, and we had a week for break, so why not?
How you know you're in the south

My favorite photo from the trip

It was a great week. One of the highlights was participating in "The Bouncy Ball Project".  I have a friend, Leah Kayajanian, who is a stand up comic in LA. Straight up. If that doesn't make you fear/respect/lust after her, you should also know that I met her in grad school. She's a great writer. So when she asked if I'd like to participate in her Bouncy Ball Project, I agreed. Leah is one of those people you would be like if you had the guts to abandon everything you used to be to become the person you want to be. She's smart, funny (obvs), hard working and I imagine her as something close to Cobie Smulder's character Robin Scherbatsky, drinking whiskey and chasing wild men.  I would've driven to LA to get the bouncy ball, just to tell a good story and toss a ball out to the mercy of the universe.  She has her name on all of them, too.  I think that takes a certain amount of chutzpah, to say Yes, I'm littering in the technical sense, but I'm really just spreading good plastic vibes. Call me sometime.
I tore in to the package. This is why we can't have nice things.

So I got the ball in the mail and promptly stuck it in my pack. The trip for this ball looks like LA
So off we went.  Now, I just had to find the right moment to release the ball and make Leah proud. Actually, I needed to find the right moment, release the ball, photograph that puppy, remember details and write something really pithy about it later to make Leah proud.  Damn.
This would be a good spot

A good candidate for bouncy ball-ness

It happened that on our second day in Bossier City (next to Shreveport), we decided to take a family road trip.  All of those people I mentioned, plus G and me, all piled in a huge SUV. I think it was the luxury version of the Exxon Valdez. I LIKED it. Smooth ride and as a bonus, I got to sit next to the baby and be silly with her the whole way there and back. We went to Natchitoches, Louisiana, where they filmed the movie "Steel Magnolias".  Aha! Strong southern women overcoming obstacles and living in community with one another.  Perfect.
If we get arrested, I'm blaming her

It was a warm day for me, in the low 60s.  After Ellensburg with its snow still on the ground, that's a warm spring day.  I got Stashia and Debbie (my mother in-law) in on the plan, which seems appropriate.  Yes, my accomplices in creative littering were my sweet, thoughtful, church-going in laws.  You'd think that these traits would work against the bouncy ball project, but you would be wrong.  These women are sort of hardened criminals, prone to gleeful ball tossing at random intervals.

Nobody would suspect them.

We pulled around the side of the Steel Magnolia House and snapped a few pictures like normal tourists. I tucked the little yellow ball in a bed with a bunch of colorful petunias and hoped it blended in.  Then we took off, giggling.  Not having sirens and cops and handcuffs was a bit of a letdown, but you can't have it all.

Just regular tourists. Nothing to see here.

Look at the base of the sign

The rest of my adventure, including my first pedicure, Debbie's excellent taste in jewelry, gambling with the in-laws and taking 23 hours to get out of the damn Shreveport airport, will have to wait until I have a little more time and energy.  Right now, I have to go write that 25 page report that I was supposed to have finished last week.

Oh, and if anyone finds that ball, it wasn't me who put it there, despite photographic evidence.  It's got Leah Kayajanian's name all over it.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Hi Everyone-
A quick and rather frantic post as I wait for a student to meet with me about her grade.

Sooooo- it's finals week.  On top of 4 classes I need to grade essays/grade finals/enter grades, I've also got a huge report due before next Monday.  No pressure.  Once Monday hits, life will be much slower paced than it is now.  Knock on wood.

That's because I'm moving to another job in the university.  I'm going to have to move offices, which I can't think about right now because I'll burst into tears.  I don't want to leave my beloved office mates. They were the first people to welcome me to Ellensburg and they were my first friends here.  We are all very thoughtful of one another- and we have a great dynamic.  Not something you always see in a big office full of women.  The upside is that I'm the LIBRARY!!  Yes, the Library where they keep the books.  I'm excited about that.  Corner office, nice windows. I won't be a librarian (I'm not THAT good), but my new job will entail creating a real online tutoring presence for the university and I'm tied to groups that are also housed in the building.  I'll start after spring break, which is next week. I'll still get to teach, just not as many classes.

I'm also finally getting over my cold and sinus infection.  I went to the doctor this week and she said as much, but that I keep coughing and having a hard time sleeping because my lungs are really weak from the illness.  Since I'm a moderate asthmatic, she insisted I take a round of Prednisone.  Pred makes me edgy and restless. I don't sleep as well. I told her I'd take and I am reluctantly doing so- only because we leave for vacation on Monday and I want to be well.

Vacation- we're going to Louisiana to visit G's family. Well, my family now too. We haven't seen them in person, outside of FaceTime, since we moved to Washington. Lots of things have changed! We will finally get to meet our new niece, HK.

So fair warning: lots of pictures will ensue.  I'll put up more on my Instagram account than I put here and they'll load there first.

Off for more adventures!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Almost There

We're almost there!

Almost spring, 

Almost spring break, 

Almost the end of my big project, 

Almost feeling better. 

I feel like I'm reaching and reaching, and my fingertips are just brushing success.  

I always did like the ends of things. I'm a lover of leaving and a sucker for new beginnings.  

There's something satisfying about closing a good book after you've finished, cleaning up after a delicious meal, and sweet coming home after a long trip.  

I'm leaning forward into spring. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


I have so much grading to do. I need to give guidance to my poor, lost students.  All 103 of them.  I have two weeks left in the quarter before finals week.

I also have some tres weirdo stuff going on with my family right now. Not the kind of things you share in a blog for everyone to read, but stressful all the same.

So G and I have been cheering ourselves up on the weekends.  We spent a good two weeks looking for things to put into a care package for his family in Louisiana.  Most of them have not yet been to Washington. YET. I'm hoping they do come visit at some point.  I'm sure I've said it at some point, but I got really lucky in the In-Law department. Not just my husband's parents, but his sisters and nieces too.  So I thought as G and I went around our journeys in Washington, we'd buy little trinkets and send them along.

From Walla Walla, we found a magnet and coloring book, with some colorful post cards.  From Prosser- which is in wine country- we went to the Chukar Cherry factory.  It's a locally owned and operated company that makes chocolates, usually with cherries in them.  We tasted lots of them just to make sure we got the right ones.

From a little store we got Aplets and Cotlets. I don't even know where the factory is in Washington, but the candies are sort of Turkish delights with a twist.  The fruits are locally grown and the candy is made here too.  My grandma used to buy them for us, and as she gave them to us she would say "You're the aplet of my eye!"

We decided against sending sweet onions from Walla Walla.  Probably a good call.

We were going to send them a bottle of wine, but uh, we drank it.  And I'm not sure it's legal to send across state lines anyway.

But the care package is also our way of saying..... "There's more where that came from.....!"

Check out my MILs blog for her reaction.

Glad you liked it!

(Now back to grading)